SPOKANE, Wash. -

The fight for a minimum wage increase entered a new phase Thursday, with protests at fast food restaurants in over 150 cities across the country including Spokane.

Protesters want a minimum wage of $15 an hour and the right to form unions without retaliation from bosses.

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, but Washington has set a higher rate of $9.32. That's still not high enough for the protesters who marched through downtown Spokane Thursday afternoon, waving signs and chanting.

"We're fighting for $15 an hour minimum wage for working people," said protester Rachel Griffin. "There are a lot of people in the country struggling because of not making enough wages to pay their rent and support a lifestyle. So we're out here fighting for all working people."

Critics, like the Employment Policies Institute, say nearly a half-million workers nationwide could lose their jobs if the minimum wage increases that dramatically.