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Ahead of Primary, NH Workers Declare: Want My Vote? Raise the Wage!

Fast food workers walk off the job before protesting at the GOP debate in Manchester

Fast food workers walked off the job on Saturday before protesting outside the GOP debate in Manchester, NH. (Photo: Fight for $15/Twitter)

Fast food workers walked off the job on Saturday before protesting outside the GOP debate in Manchester, NH. (Photo: Fight for $15/Twitter)

Want my vote? Then raise the wage.

That's the message that low wage workers in New Hampshire sent to the presidential contenders on Saturday when fast food employees and others walked off the job days before the state's pivotal primary election.

"I’ve never walked off the job before, but I can’t wait any longer for fair pay," said Megan Jensen, a mother and KFC employee who lives off of $8 an hour. Jensen said that this is also the first year she plans to vote in the state's February 9th primary. 

"Everyone deserves at least $15 an hour and the right to a union," Jensen continued, "and candidates who are flying into New Hampshire this week need to know that we are taking this demand to the polls."

After the strike, which was held in Manchester, New Hampshire's largest city, workers from McDonald’s, KFC, Wendy’s and other chains will join other underpaid workers from across the state to protest outside the GOP debate Saturday evening.

Organizers with the national Fight for $15 movement are expecting a "massive" turnout at the first fast food worker action in the state. "Wherever 2016 candidates go this election season, fast-food and other underpaid workers are following to demand $15/hour and union rights," stated the group, which is backed by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). A similar action was held in Iowa ahead of last month's Republican debate there.

None of the Republican candidates have come out in favor of a $15 minimum wage. Hillary Clinton advocates for a national $12 minimum wage, though says she supports local efforts to raise the wage to $15.

Calling for nothing less than "fifteen bucks and a union," Sen. Bernie Sanders joined striking workers during a rally in Washington, D.C. in November. During his speech, he credited the Fight for $15 movement with local wage victories across the country.

"What you are doing and workers all over the United States are doing, you are having a profound impact," Sanders said. "People are raising the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour. And you know who started it? You did. You started the movement."

Updates on the New Hampshire protest are being shared online with the hashtag #Fightfor15.

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