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Fast food joint pays workers $12 an hour, and lives to tell the tale

Over the past four months, fast food workers have walked off the job in a wave of protests and strikes across the country to demand a higher minimum wage and the freedom to unionize.

But in Dearborn Heights, Mich., a city just outside of Detroit, a new burger joint is trying to give workers a reason to clock-in to work each day.Moo Cluck Moo is paying its workers a minimum wage of $12 per hour, over four dollars more than Michigan’s $7.40 per hour minimum wage. The reason? Simple: “It’s just the right thing to do,” said Allen Fisher, the restaurant’s managing partner, on msnbc Tuesday.“We manage our costs effectively, we use the best product that we can afford, and we pass that along to our employees,” said Fisher. “It’s not an easy job to do. We demand a lot out of our people, but we pay them for that.”In addition to higher wages, said Fisher, Moo Cluck Moo has an exclusive training program that qualifies each of its employees for a better job and a higher pay rate. The restaurant also provides uniforms, meals, and (coming soon) medical benefits, he said.Though Moo Cluck Moo, with its dozen employees and single location, is significantly smaller than the nation’s largest fast food chains, Fisher said fast food giants can afford to do better.In 2011, America’s top 15 fast food chains brought in a combined $115 billion in sales, according to Business Insider.“There’s got to be room for a few dollars here and there for the employees,” said Fisher. “I just don’t see that that’s impossible.”