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Mayoral candidates pledge living wages

The rally today on the Boston Common by fast-food workers who are seeking higher wages turned into a stump stop for some of the mayoral candidates.

Amid shouts of “workers united will never be defeated” and signs that read “an injury to one is an injury to all” stood five of the 12 hopefuls.

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One-by-one, the candidates made their way to the microphone to tell the crowd how they would fight to make sure Bostonians earn a living wage.

“We have to help the very poor come up,” State Representative Martin J. Walsh told the crowd. “That means that if McDonald’s and Burger King and Wendy’s and the rest of them have to pay a little bit more money, then let make them pay more money.”

Next up was John Barros, former nonprofit executive and School Committee member.

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“We can’t have a city that has almost a quarter of its residents under the federal poverty line,” Barros said.

Then came former health-care executive Bill Walczak: “I want to ask our Legislature and governor to pass a living wage so people can pay for the kind if great hard work that you do.”

Charles Clemons, owner of the unlicensed radio station TOUCH 106.1 FM: “I am no stranger to struggle. You have seen me out on the picket lines with you.”

City Councilor Felix Arroyo was the last mayoral candidate to speak.

“We should never in a country as prosperous as this one need to say someone is working poor,” Arroyo said. “You work. You should not be living in poverty.”

Then, the protestors took to the street, marching to the McDonald’s and Burger King on Tremont Street. Candidates, including some running for City Council, marched too.

At Burger King, some candidates got a chance to practice skills in diplomacy as Barros, Clemons -- and eventually Arroyo, City Councilor Tito Jackson, and the Rev. William Dickerson, of Greater Love Tabernacle Church -- as they advocated on behalf of striking employees.

They asked the manager not to retaliate against workers, particularly Kyle King. King was profiled Thursday in the Globe and said he planned to participate in the nationwide strike.

Akilah Johnson can be reached at ajohnson@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @akjohnson1922.
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