photo from media partner 10News

For the first time ever, San Diego fast-food workers walked off their jobs Thursday as part of an unprecedented nationwide strike that spanned 35 cities from New York to Los Angeles.

Calling for $15 and the right to form a union without retaliation or unfair labor practices, workers walked off their jobs at some of the city’s biggest national fast-food chains, including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, KFC, Subway, and Chipotle.

“The strikes in cities like Detroit and St. Louis earlier in the summer inspired us to join this growing fight for higher pay,” said Diego Rios. “Taking collective action with workers across the country makes us stronger and makes $15 and a union a goal that seems well within reach.”

Following an unprecedented week of fast-food worker strikes in seven cities across the country San Diego workers connected to the national campaign via Facebook and other online communications, eager to join in.

“Our wages weren’t magically going to go up, so we decided it was time to take a stand,” said Raquel Neri. “It’s scary, but it’s way scarier to try to figure out how to pay rent and support a family on $9 per hour.”

Fast food workers formed a picket line at a local Wendy’s in downtown San Diego, where they called for higher wages to boost the economy and the freedom to form unions.

Local officials and community leaders supported the workers’ efforts.

“By joining together and speaking out, workers in San Diego will win higher wages that will help lift the entire city,” said Clare Crawford, executive director of the Center on Policy Initiatives.