Collins, 29, worked at the Macy's(M) department store off and on for two years, and was frustrated that she wasn't made a full-time employee. Her pay wasn't enough to support her family of four, so she worked a second job. When she asked her manager for a promotion earlier this year, she was passed over.
So Collins joined other retail and fast food workers on April 24 in a rally outside of Chicago's Union Station asking their employers to give them better hours, wages and benefits.
Soon after the rally, Collins' manager offered her a full-time position in the Macy's shoe department. Collins' pay went from $8.25 to $8.50 an hour, she was eligible for full benefits and her hours were bumped up to at least 32 per week.
"It makes you feel empowered," said Collins, who doesn't need to work a second job anymore and can spend more time with her family. "I didn't understand the power that people have when they speak up."