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Minimum wage employees fighting for a raise

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

The findings of a group called the Economic Policy Institute show many workers said they aren't making enough money to live on.

A report released by the EPI states that families cannot make it on what minimum wage salaries provide, and one organization said companies should pay more.

They start early and work late just to make a living. But according to a recent report, workers in minimum-paying jobs such as fast food don't bring home enough money to make it.

"If it wasn't for my brother and my roommate, I'd be homeless," said fast food employee Michael Schaefer.

On the EPI's website, a family budget calculator shows a single mother with two children living in Kansas City would need a little over $4,900 a month just to make it, for example. The calculator breaks it down by city, region and includes basic necessities.

"These numbers are staggering for us. We don't know any low-wage workers making that kind of money. Some are making a third of that," said Donnie Morehouse with Missouri Jobs for Justice.

Fast food workers like Schaefer, Tia Fisher and Wilma Brown don't need the study because they already know. They shared their stories of struggles making $7.25 an hour with members from Missouri Jobs for Justice.

"At one point I was homeless for two years," Fisher said.

Her two children live with her mother now while she lives with a friend. She brought home $400 a month, but her rent was also $400 a month.

"My kids couldn't eat. I didn't have gas to get back and forth," Fisher said.

Brown found out her employer was going back and erasing her overtime to keep her under 30 hours a week. She filed a complaint.

And Schaefer said his company makes more than enough to pay employees better.

"Up on the wall it says we made a million dollars last year. They gave us a flimsy plaque, but they can't give us a raise," he said.

Fast food workers in several cities, including St. Louis, have staged walk-outs to protest low wages.

The National Restaurant Association said jobs could be jeopardized if the minimum wage goes up. It calls the industry "one of the best paths to achieving the American Dream."

If you want to check out the report, click here.

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