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Food Workers At Smithsonian Strike Over ‘Living Wages’

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Smithsonian food workers strike outside the National Air and Space Museum. (credit: Kevin Patrick/All-News 99.1 WNEW)

Smithsonian food workers strike outside the National Air and Space Museum. (credit: Kevin Patrick/All-News 99.1 WNEW)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Workers from two Smithsonian Institution museum eateries are staging a one-day strike calling for the federally funded museums to ensure they are paid a “living wage.”

Organizers say the workers plan to protest Thursday outside the National Air and Space Museum and march to the Smithsonian Castle.

The workers are employed by McDonald’s Corp. and Restaurant Associates, which operate museum restaurants on the National Mall. Organizers say the strike includes restaurant workers from the National Museum of American History and the space museum.

This is the latest in a string of protests by service workers at federal buildings.

Workers are submitting a letter to Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough calling for higher wages and paid holidays that other workers receive. They cite the Smithsonian’s $30 million in profits from business units.

The controversial “living wage” Large Retailer Accountability Act passed in the D.C. Council by a margin of 8-5 Wednesday afternoon.

Without a veto from Mayor Vincent Gray, that means a non-union District retailer with a parent company making more than $1 billion per year and occupying at least 75,000 square feet will have to pay employees a minimum of $12.50 per hour. Current minimum wage in the city is $8.25. Federal minimum wage is $7.25.

Wal-Mart said Tuesday that it would scrap plans for three of the six stores planned for D.C. if the legislation went through.

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(TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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