08/29/2013 08:06 am ET Updated Aug 29, 2013

Fast Food Worker Strikes Expand To South, West Coast (LIVE UPDATES)

Low-wage workers are taking to the streets in 50 cities across the country Thursday. The protests, which come ahead of Labor Day, are an outgrowth of the July strikes that took place in cities like New York, Chicago and Detroit.

Only this time, they're expanding to a number of cities in the south and west.

The demands are largely the same as in the past -- a minimum wage of $15 per hour and protections against retaliation for joining a union. But the demonstrations are expected to be larger in scope, with retail workers from Macy's, Sears and Victoria's Secret likely also walking off their jobs. A reputation for relying on low-wage and part-time labor has often made both industries targets of frequent criticism.

Check back throughout the day for live updates on the day's demonstrations.

08/29/2013 4:50 PM EDT

Working America's Awesome Tumblr Rounds Up Photos From Today's Strikes

If you're looking for a trove of photos from today's fast food strikes head over to this Tumblr created by Working America, a working family advocacy organization.

Here's one photo already featured on the Tumblr via @MOJobsWithJustice:

08/29/2013 4:29 PM EDT

PHOTO: Workers Take To The Streets In Boston

Photo via Matthew Filipowicz:

08/29/2013 4:15 PM EDT

Organizers Claim Fast Food Restaurant Offered To Double Pay To Keep Workers From Walking Out

Advocacy groups claim a Burger King in Raleigh, North Carolina offered to pay workers more if they didn't go on strike. Unrelated to the groups' claims, Burger King told the Associated Press that the company doesn't make "decisions about pay for the independent franchisees that operate the majority of their U.S. restaurants."

08/29/2013 3:42 PM EDT

PHOTO: Fast Food Workers Hold Up Signs Outside Oakland KFC

Photo via California Labor:

08/29/2013 3:20 PM EDT

Former Secretary Of Labor Robert Reich: McDonald's, Walmart Can Afford To Pay $15 Per Hour

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich argues in a recent video that McDonald's and Walmart can afford to meet fast food workers' demands of $15 per hour wages.

From HuffPostBiz:

Robert Reich, who certainly knows a thing or two about labor and economic policy, says it's time for some of the nation's largest employers to start paying their workers a living wage.

In a petition he launched on on August 26, Reich, who served as Secretary of Labor under President Clinton and is also a Huffington Post blogger, urges corporations like McDonald's and Walmart to increase wages so workers can finally "get a fair share in this economy." The petition, which had 6,956 on Thursday afternoon, is to be delivered to McDonalds CEO Don Thompson and Walmart CEO Michael Duke.

“Your typical employee is now earning $8.25 to $8.80 an hour,” Reich states in the petition. “[Walmart and McDonald’s] can easily afford to pay [workers] $15 an hour without causing layoffs or requiring price hikes.”

Click over to watch the video and read more about Reich's push.

08/29/2013 3:14 PM EDT

Striking Fast Food Workers Take Their Message To Downtown Detroit

From HuffPostDetroit:

DETROIT -- Fast-food workers in Detroit were protesting outside their restaurants this morning. But by early afternoon, they had taken off.

The workers congregated in downtown Detroit, marching through the streets waving flags and banners.

Local union leaders were on hand to address the crowd of workers, including Service Employees Industry Union international leader Mary Kay Henry and Marge Robinson, president of SEIU Healthcare Michigan, which says its 55,000 members make up the state's largest local union. -- Ashley Woods

08/29/2013 3:07 PM EDT

Wendy's Worker On Why Some Of Her Colleagues Didn't Strike: 'A Lot Are Scared'

From Gawker:

Rynetta Bennett, 23, worked at the Wendy's on Nassau Street. She was scheduled to work today. Instead, she was outside, protesting. She had worked there nearly seven years, but had not yet been promoted to manager. She said she got a ten cent raise about every six months, and no paid vacations. "This is my main income," she said. Many of her fellow workers were supportive of the cause, but decided not to appear with the strikers. "A lot are scared."

Click over to Gawker to read more.

08/29/2013 2:40 PM EDT

PHOTO: Fast Food Workers Take To The Streets In Hollywood

Photo via Warehouse Workers United:

08/29/2013 2:23 PM EDT

PHOTO: Workers Protesting In 5th Ave McDonald's

Photo via NY Communities for Change:

08/29/2013 2:07 PM EDT

Hundreds Rail Against Minimum Wage In Chicago

From HuffPostChicago:

CHICAGO -- McDonald's workers walked off the job during a one-day strike Thursday morning as part of a nationwide movement protesting low wages and labor practices.

Roughly 200 protesters including employees from McDonald's and Walmart and members of the Chicago Teachers Union and the Service Employees International Union gathered outside the Rock N' Roll McDonald's at 600 N. Clark St. in downtown Chicago to rally and state their demands.

"It's an amazing day because we have about 60 cities joining us," Deivid Rojas, communications director for Fight For 15, said Thursday. "The workers were really inspired because they were among the first workers back in April to go on strike. The support from other cities gives them gives them confirmation."

"It's not liveable," Tyree Johnson, who said he's been a McDonald's employee for 21 years, told HuffPost. "I've been dedicated to McDonald's for the past 21 years. I still make $8 an hour."

-- Kim Bellware

Click over to HuffPostChicago to read more: