Protesters preach for higher fast food wages

By Perry Russom

August 29, 2013 Updated Aug 29, 2013 at 11:49 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Protesters outside of a McDonald's in Binghamton Thursday chanted "Low pay is not OK."

This was all part of a nationwide day of action by fast-food workers to demand higher pay.

"If I had a better job that was paying more and I still could provide food and shelter for my son, it would have been better. But it couldn't happen with the minimum wage and working at McDonald's," said Lisa Powell, former McDonald's employee.

Powell said she had to quit her job at McDonald's after one year because the pay was not enough.

She was being paid $7.25, the national minimum wage.

To get by, she said she needed food stamps to help buy food for her and her son.

Most of the money she earned at work was spent on getting from Binghamton, where she lives, to Vestal, where she worked at McDonald's.

Protesters said the minimum wage should be raised with the current proposal to cut $40 billion to the food stamp program.

"They (Congress) don't care," said Jesse Chitty, a Binghamton man who lives on food stamps. "They simply don't care."

Chitty was forced on food stamps after two back surgeries kept him from working.

He also had kidney failure 10 years ago. He now lives off dialysis.

Chitty said he can't afford the right foods to keep him healthy because food stamps don't leave him with the money to do so.

The food stamp program will take a hit on Nov. 1 unless Congress acts.

That's when The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that allocated nearly $45 billion to the food stamp program will expire.

Protesters said with these cuts imminent, now is the time to increase wages.