By now, most Americans know that fast-food employees like me can’t make ends meet on the low wages we make. What they might not know is that because employers like McDonald's, Wendy's, and Burger King refuse to pay us a living wage, the cost of our basic healthcare and basic needs are transferred to taxpayers in the form of public assistance.

The American people shouldn't be forced to underwrite the profits of fast-food companies that refuse to pay workers a fair, living wage. That's why I started my own campaign on, which allows activists to start their own petitions. My petition, which is to McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King, Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut, Domino's, Subway, and Papa John's, says the following:

A whopping 52% of fast-food employees’ families are forced to rely on public assistance to put food on the table or see a doctor because you pay them poverty wages. That means Americans are picking up the check with nearly $7 billion in tax dollars a year – while the fast-food industry reaps billions in profits. It’s outrageous and it has to stop. It’s time to pay your workers $15 an hour so they can make ends meet and Americans can stop paying the hidden costs of poverty wages.

Tell the nation's nine largest fast-food chains: Pay your workers $15 an hour so we can make ends meet and Americans can stop paying the hidden costs of poverty wages.

Almost two months ago, I joined a national strike against low pay along with thousands of other fast-food workers in cities across the country. I went on strike because I can't make ends meet on low hours and the $8.25 an hour I make at McDonald's in Chicago. Each month I have to make hard choices -- like which meal to skip, or which bill not to pay.

In order to get by, 52% of fast-food employees' families--families like mine--are forced to rely on programs like food stamps or Medicaid. That means that for every meal purchased at a fast-food restaurant, Americans end up paying twice--once for the meal itself and again as they're forced to cover the costs of healthcare and other basic needs for workers because these multibillion-dollar corporations fail to pay us a living wage. A recent report from the University of California, Berkeley Labor Center estimated this latter cost at nearly $7 billion per year.

At a time when seven out of the 10 fastest-growing U.S. occupations pay less than the national median wage, more and more Americans are forced to rely on the social safety net. The average fast-food worker is now over 28 years old, meaning many support families with a combination of low fast-food wages and public assistance.

My coworkers and I don’t want to rely on public assistance -- we would much rather receive an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work. That's why I'm asking you to speak up and tell the CEOs who run fast-food chains like KFC, Taco Bell, and Subway that you're tired of underwriting their profits and you want workers like me to be paid a fair living wage. If you sign my petition, you can send the fast-food chains we work for a message that you're with us in our fight.

It's time to hold fast-food CEOs accountable for a deliberately flawed business model that hurts both workers and taxpayers.

Will you join me and add your name to my petition demanding fast-food chains pay workers $15 an hour so we can make ends meet?

Thank you for your support.

Nancy Salgado