Protesters demonstrate at a McDonald's in New York on Dec. 5. Protesters staged events in cities nationwide, demanding a pay raise to $15 per hour for fast-food workers and the right for them to unionize. John Moore/Getty Images hide caption

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New York City Council speaker and then-mayoral candidate Christine Quinn speaks at a fast-food workers' protest outside a McDonald's in New York in August. A nationwide movement is calling for raising the minimum hourly wage for fast-food workers to $15. Richard Drew/AP hide caption

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Losia Nyankale helps daughter Jonessa and son Juliean learn the alphabet. Nyankale, who works in a restaurant in Washington, D.C., says she needs food stamps and child-care subsidies to make ends meet. Jennifer Ludden/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Jennifer Ludden/NPR