Karina McClain, a cashier at fast food chain Checkers in New York City, didn't show up for her shift on Thursday.
Instead, the 22 year-old joined about 100 other people outside of a Brooklyn Wendy's restaurant calling for an hourly wage increase to $15 an hour. She was holding a sign that read "Raise pay, live better."
"I have bills to pay and we don't get enough money," said McClain, who makes the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, and works 20 hours a week. Missing out on a day's pay would be hard for McClain, who can barely pay for diapers and clothes for her five-month old daughter Kamayah.
McClain said union-backed groups, like Fast Food Forward and Fight for 15, were paying her about $50, or a day's wage, to be at the protest.
"If they weren't paying me, I couldn't afford to be here," she said.