The one-day protest starting about 6 a.m. Friday at a McDonald's on Detroit's eastside before being duplicated at other eateries.
The Detroit area strike follows Thursday's walkout by workers at more than 30 fast food restaurants in St. Louis. Similar strikes also have been staged at fast food chains in New York and Chicago.
Workers want $15 and hour, better working conditions and the right to unionize, said Detroit pastor Charles Williams II, an organizer with Detroit's D15 campaign.
Many fast food workers in Michigan make $7.40 an hour or just above it, Williams said.
That's the amount Claudette Wilson told The Detroit News she earns while taking part in the walkout at a Burger King near Detroit's northern city limits.
"(It's) the same as when I started working in the fast food industry three years ago," said Wilson, 20. "We're the fastest-growing job market in the country with the lowest pay."
Shavontae Jackson said she has trouble making ends meet. The 22-year-old Southfield resident works at a McDonald's.
"My bills and expenses are more than my checks," Jackson said. "I hope we do get some type of result. I'm not asking for the full amount. At least something so I won't be struggling as much."
Not all workers took part in the strike.
Aris Lynch told the Detroit Free Press that she refused when activists entered the eastside McDonald's and asked her to protest.
"My job is more important than losing it," said Lynch, 21.
A message seeking comment from a representative of the McDonald's restaurant targeted first was left Friday morning by The Associated Press.