LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Hundreds of workers and union activists will hold a series of rallies Tuesday morning as part of a nationwide protest to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The local protests, which are organized by Service Employees International Union, include fast-food, home-care and child-care workers along with other “underpaid” employees.

The first protest began at 6 a.m., located outside a McDonald’s restaurant in the 100 block of West Manchester Avenue in South Los Angeles.

According to the fast-food chain, wages were increased by one dollar in July over the locally-mandated minimum wage, which affected more than 90,000 employees nationwide.

McDonald’s released a statement that reads in part: “McDonald’s and our independent franchisees support paying our valued employees fair wages aligned with a competitive marketplace. We believe that any minimum wage increase should be implemented over time so that the impact on owners of small and medium-sized businesses, like the ones who own and operate the majority of our restaurants, is manageable.”

At 11 a.m., a second rally was held outside the restaurant’s location in the 600 block of South Alameda.

Following the protest, activists marched to Los Angeles City Hall for a midday strike.

Meanwhile, similar rallies took place across California, Ohio, Florida, New York and Virginia as part of a nationwide call for wage increases and union rights.

According to union officials, more than 60 million Americans — including 3.2 million Californians — are paid less than $15 per hour.

“In an effort to find real solutions to income inequality that go beyond the minimum wage, our industry has and will continue to take steps to provide meaningful opportunity to employees of all ages and backgrounds through apprenticeships, training programs and educational attainment opportunities that will help strengthen and grow our workforce for the future,” said Christin Fernandez, spokeswoman for the National Restaurant Association.

Opponents have argued that raises would force employers to lay off workers or even boost the price of goods and services required to meet increased costs.

Both the city and county of Los Angeles have approved legislation to raise the minimum wage by 2020.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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