My protest paid off: Fast-food workers speak out

Fast food and retail store workers have joined in a wave of protests nationwide since November, asking for higher wages and more hours. How did it affect them? These four workers share their stories.

From part-time to full-time

fast food retail protest krystal collins
  • Name: Krystal Maxi-Collins
  • Employer: Macy's, Chicago

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."

  @emilyjanefox - Last updated May 28 2013 06:07 AM ET

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