Today, thousands of Illinoisans are taking part in one of the largest demonstrations by U.S. workers seeking higher pay. Fast food workers in Chicago and other cities will walk off the job, while adjunct professors, home care, airport and other low wage earners will march and rally demanding a minimum wage of $15 an hour.
Douglas Hunter is a maintenance worker at a Chicago-area McDonald's and says his current wage of just over $9 an hour doesn't cut it.
"I still have to make choices between my rent, and my lights, my rent and my food," says Hunter. "This working poor thing is a crime because these companies are making $6 billion - $8 billion a year and they're not contributing anything to us."
Recently, McDonald's announced a pay raise giving roughly five percent of its overall workforce $1 more than the local minimum wage. Hunter says it's still not enough, and Tax Day was chosen for the demonstration because protesters want to highlight the fact low-wage workers are paid so little many are forced to rely on public assistance to get by.
Hunter says the 'Fight for 15' movement, now into its second year, is rapidly growing. He says today's demonstration involves college students from 200 campuses, as well as those involved in racial and economic justice movements.
"Us coming together, that's a win in and of itself, that's a victory," he says. "We think it's growing and people are interested because this is directly affecting campuses, universities, the quality of life in our neighborhood."
Opponents of raising the minimum wage argue it would hurt business, and could result in job losses.
Strikes and protests are planned in more than 230 U.S. cities, and some 120 other cities around the world.
Check back with Progress Illinois for our coverage of the Fight for $15 protests in Chicago.