NEW YORK — Workers from McDonald’s, Taco Bell and other chain restaurants protested in cities around the country Tuesday to push fast-food companies to pay them at least $15 an hour. The protesters also had a message for presidential candidates: Support the cause or lose their votes next year.

The fast-food protests were planned by organizers at more than 270 cities nationwide, part of an ongoing campaign called “Fight for $15.” Janitors, nursing home workers and package delivery workers also joined some protests, organizers said.

Dominique McCrae, who serves fried chicken and biscuits at a Bojangles’ restaurant for $7.55 an hour, joined a protest outside a McDonald’s in Durham, North Carolina. Her pay isn’t enough to cover rent or diapers for her child, the 23-year-old said. She dropped out of college to care for her grandfather, making finances tight.

“We just want to be able to support our families,” said McCrae, who has worked at Bojangles’ for two months.

Bojangles’ Inc., based in Charlotte, North Carolina, said in a statement that it offers employees “competitive compensation.”

Workers are pledging not to vote for presidential candidates that do not support the campaign. Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both showed their support through tweets on Tuesday. A protest was also planned near the Republican debates in Milwaukee on Tuesday night, organizers said.

McDonald’s worker Adriana Alvarez said she plans to vote for the first time next year, but only for a candidate who wants to raise wages to $15 an hour. Alvarez, who is 23 and lives in Chicago, said she makes $10.50 an hour, and higher pay can help her move out of the moldy basement apartment she shares with her 3-year-old son.

“I can find a better place,” she said.

The protests are occurring against a backdrop of weak wage growth nationwide. Average hourly pay has increased at roughly a 2.2 percent annual rate since the recession ended more than six years ago.


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