In Washington, dozens of people carried signs and marched while singing "Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way. it's no fun, to survive, on low low low low pay."

In New York, about 100 protesters blew whistles and beat drums as they marched into a McDonald's chanting "We can't survive on $7.25." And in Detroit, more than 100 workers are picketing outside two McDonald's restaurants and sang "hey hey, ho ho, $7.40 has got to go!"

One-day labor walkouts were planned at fast-food restaurants in 100 cities Thursday, with protests in scores more. Organizers, actually a loose-knit group of labor advocates mostly led by the Service Employees International Union, are pressing for an increase in the national minimum wage, higher wages in the industry -- and the right to unionize without management reprisals.

The advocacy groups are hoping to build public support for raising the federal minimum wage of $7.25, or about $15,000 a year for full-time work. A common battle cry has been "Fight for 15" -- a $15-per-hour minimum wage.

Tyeisha Batts, 27, protesting in New York, said she has been working at Burger King forr about seven months and earns $7.25 an hour. She said she hasn't been retaliated against but that the manager warned that employees who didn't arrive on time Thursday would be turned away for their shifts.