Nationwide fast-food strikes will include D.C. workers from federal concessions

Strike participants gather in the hundreds to protest minimum wage standards in the United States on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at Union Station in Washington D.C. (Amanda Voisard/For the Washington Post)
Strike participants gather in the hundreds to protest minimum wage standards in the United States on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at Union Station in Washington D.C. (Amanda Voisard/For the Washington Post)
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McDonalds employees from the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum plan to walk off the job Thursday morning, joining fast-food workers in 100 U.S. cities demonstrating for better pay.

The strikes are part of a growing movement this year from community organizers, local politicians and national unions to mandate a “living wage” of at least $15 an hour.

In August, fast-food and retail workers held walkouts in eight cities as part of a national day of strikes for low-wage employees. A string of demonstrations also took place in Washington, D.C. last spring and summer with non-government employees who work for vendors at federal buildings.

Thursdays events are set to take place one day after President Obama urged Congress to raise the minimum wage during a speech on income inequality.

MORE: Obama says income inequality a defining challenge

In a speech on the economy at a Center for American Progress event, the president said increasing the minimum wage was one of several things the country should do to improve the country. (Sarah Parnass/The Washington Post)

Good Jobs Nation, a group representing low-wage workers, is calling on the president to issue an executive order that would ensure companies doing business with the federal government “pay a decent wage and give workers a voice on the job,” according to a statement from the group.

Obama last month signaled support for a Democratic bill that would raise the federal pay threshold from its current $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) sponsored the legislation.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has promised a Senate vote on the measure by the end of the year, but the Republican-led House has made no indication that it will take up the matter.

In July, D.C. lawmakers approved a bill requiring certain large retailers to pay their employees 50 percent above the city’s minimum wage, ignoring threats from Wal-Mart that the law would jeopardize its plans for opening new stores in the district. D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray ultimately vetoed the measure.

The first two Wal-Marts in the nation’s capitol opened Wednesday morning on 8th Street NW in the NoMa neighborhood and on Georgia Avenue NW in Brightwood.

Follow Josh Hicks on TwitterFacebook or Google+. Connect by e-mail at  josh.hicks@washpost.comVisit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics for more federal news. E-mail federalworker@washpost.com with news tips and other suggestion.

Josh Hicks covers Maryland politics and government. He previously anchored the Post’s Federal Eye blog, focusing on federal accountability and workforce issues.

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Josh Hicks · December 4, 2013