McDonald's worker Adriana Alvarez is one of thousands of fast food workers walking off their jobs Thursday to demand better wages.
Alvarez has worked at a McDonald's in Cicero, Illinois for four years.
She earned $8.50 an hour until recently, when she got her first raise to $9.75 an hour.
She says the raise was the result of union activity at her store. The minimum hourly wage in Illinois is $8.25.
With the raise, the 22-year-old mother of one earns about $550 a month in take-home pay.
"Every day is a struggle," Alvarez told Business Insider. "One paycheck goes toward rent and the other paycheck goes to me. But after daycare payments, food and other bills, I end up with nothing in my pockets and my son needs clothes."
Alvarez is scheduled to work Thursday but she won't be reporting to the restaurant. She says at least 10 of her coworkers are also planning to go on strike Thursday.
The strike is one of hundreds that are expected to take place across the country on Thursday as part of a national demonstration calling for higher wages in the fast food industry.
Strikes are expected to take place in more than 190 US cities, according to labor organizers. The strikers are seeking a $15 minimum hourly wage across the industry.
The federal min mum wage is $7.25 an hour.
The demonstrations are backed by Service Employees International Union, one of the country's largest labor organizations.
Asked whether she was concerned about losing her job by not showing up for work, Alvarez said no.
"McDonalds hasn't gotten the message yet," she said. And until they do, she added, she will continue to participate in strikes and protests.
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