Fast food workers and activists demonstrate outside the McDonald's corporate campus on May 21, 2014 in Oak Brook, Illinois. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty
Mon, Jul 28, 2014 10:03 AM EDT

An estimated 1,200 fast food workers are back home this Monday morning after attending their first-ever national conference this weekend in Addison, Ill., about four miles from McDonald's headquarters. The gathering dramatizes the resolve of fast food workers to escalate their campaign as well as the growth of the movement, which began with 200 workers in November 2012. Their main demands are a $15-an-hour minimum wage and the right to form a union without retaliation.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) largely funded the two-day convention and North Carolina's Moral Mondays leader Rev. William Barber III was a keynote.

Said one worker, according to The New York Times, "It's awesome to see all these people here. I'm ready to take the next step." This national conference comes after a mid-May protest forced McDonald's to close company headquarters. 

For images from this weekend's gathering, check Vice News as well as reporter Alice Speri's Tweets from the convention hall.