Losia Nyankale, 29, didn't mean to make a career in the restaurant business. But after Nyankale was in college for two years, her mom lost her job as a schoolteacher and could no longer pay tuition. Then, Nyankale's temp jobs in bookkeeping dried up in the recession. So she went back to her standby — restaurant work.

"I did some kitchen work. The pantries or the salad station," she says. "I've also managed, supervised, wash[ed] dishes."

Emile Bremmer / Flickr

Fast food workers in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas are hopeful their participation in brief strikes will lead to better pay and working conditions.

The strikes Monday and Tuesday were part of an effort in selected cities, including New York and Chicago, organized by the Fast Food Forward campaign, launched last year. Among the goals is to more than double the minimum wage, currently $7.25 per hour, to $15 per hour.