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One local group set out to put the focus on labor this Labor Day.

"Put the People First" spent the afternoon Monday marching up and down Cumberland Avenue, calling out businesses they say treat workers unfairly.

"Can't survive on $7.25," they chanted.

Put the People first hosted a cookout and march Monday leaving Tyson Park and heading to the strip to protest businesses they say aren't paying workers well enough.

"It's the difference between scraping by and actually living," said United Campus Workers member Josh Smyser.

Several groups were included in the afternoon protest, many of which are pushing for a $15 an hour minimum wage, double the state's current $7.25 an hour.

"That's someone who can have savings, who isn't going to sweat their light bill. I have coworkers who are a step away from having their lights cut off, or who can't have car insurance even though they need to in order to be in compliance with the law."

Businesses the protest targeted include Walmart and Publix at University Commons, the Pilot on Cumberland, and fast food restaurants up and down the strip. Some cars stopped, some honked, but that was all part of the goal - drawing attention to the struggle facing Tennessee's minimum wage workers.

"Working one sometimes two sometimes three jobs because you're paid minimum wage which is not enough to live on for one person let alone if you've got a family to take care of," explained protest organizer Karly Safar.

Multiple groups made up the protest; one of which is asking for signatures to improve the state of mental health care in Knoxville.

"Everyone has a testimony. Their child, their husband, their spouse - mental illness is the elephant in the room, it's the skeleton in the closet that people don't want to talk about, but it's all around us. I haven't had anyone turn me down and by tomorrow night we'll have over 1,000 signatures," said Vivian Shipe.

Protesters say the march was a success, giving them a chance to put a face on a problem many Americans are dealing with.

"You rely on public assistance to scrape out a living, which is not really living," explained Smyser.

"A fair wage is what it takes to live modestly, have a car, pay your rent and raise your children. We're a long way from that," said marcher Todd Shelton.

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