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Fast Food Workers Protest Wages At Air And Space Museum

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Protesters lined the Air and Space Museum Thursday to call for attention to the federal minimum wage.
Matt Laslo
Protesters lined the Air and Space Museum Thursday to call for attention to the federal minimum wage.

Protesters came out to the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum Thursday to demand a wage increase for federal contractors. Many students and tourists looked pretty surprised when dozens of protestors erupted in chants as they sat munching on fries and burgers at the McDonalds in the Air and Space Museum.

The Smithsonian contracts out its food courts. Many of the workers at the McDonald's here and at other museums along the mall get paid minimum wage.

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton is praising President Obama's call this week to curb wage disparity, but she says now he needs to back his words up with action.

"I want our President to know that the place to begin to act on those words is right here in the District of Columbia and across the country where people have federal contracts. And the federal government knows they do not pay a living wage. As a result, we the taxpayers have to subsidize these workers just so they can put food on the table with food stamps."

Holmes Norton says as companies competitively bid for federal government contracts. the White House ought to demand they pay their workers a living wage.

"You can make an element of a competition because they're very competitive contracts competing on wage. Thereby, people would compete on wage the wage they compete on service and we'd get an increase in the wage."

At a speech in D.C. this week the president did call for an increase in the federal minimum wage, which requires congressional approval.

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