OAK BROOK, Ill. (AP) — Protesters were arrested after refusing to leave corporate property outside McDonald’s headquarters on Wednesday, as hundreds demonstrated to call attention to the low pay earned by fast-food workers.
The actions come ahead of the company’s annual shareholders meeting Thursday, where it is also expected to be confronted on issues including its executive pay packages and marketing to children.
Early Wednesday, organizers changed the location of their demonstration after learning McDonald’s closed the building where they had planned their actions and told employees there to work from home. The corporate headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois, has several buildings on a sprawling campus.
Down the street from Hamburger University, dozens of police officers in riot gear warned protesters to disperse. People dressed in McDonald’s uniforms essentially volunteered to be arrested by peacefully crossing a barricade or remaining on the property after being asked to leave. Organizers said about 100 McDonald’s workers who traveled from around the country were arrested, along with community leaders and supporters.
Among them was Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, who said in a statement released after her arrest that she wanted McDonald’s workers to know her union members stood with them.
The SEIU has been providing financial and organizational support to the fast-food protests, which began in late 2012 in New York City and have been spreading to other cities and countries.
While turnout for the protests has varied, they’ve nevertheless struck a chord at a time when the gap between the country’s rich and poor has widened. Executive pay packages are coming under greater scrutiny too, and shareholders last week rebuked Chipotle Mexican Grill’s compensation of $25.1 million and $24.4 million for its co-CEOs in a non-binding, advisory vote.
McDonald’s Corp., which is far bigger than Chipotle, gave CEO Don Thompson a pay package worth $9.5 million last year.
Outside its headquarters, 25-year-old McDonald’s worker Jessica Davis said she wasn’t worried about being arrested.
“I’m worried about not being able to pay my bills,” said Davis, who earns about $9 an hour at a Chicago restaurant. She said she supports two young children and relies on public assistance and help from her family to get by.
A spokesman for the Oak Brook police department, George Peterson, said the arrested protesters were being processed and would be released, with court dates being assigned later. He estimated the crowd of demonstrators at up to 1,500.
Although some municipalities have higher rates, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour and translates to about $15,000 a year for a person who works 40 hours a week. But most fast-food workers are given far less time on the clock, in part because restaurant owners want to avoid paying overtime and limit the number of employees who receive benefits, if they are offered.
Protesters also plan to demonstrate outside the company’s annual meeting Thursday morning.
Shareholder meetings offer the public a rare chance to confront top executives at major publicly traded companies. While ordinary investors typically don’t attend, the meetings are frequented by public pension funds, activist groups and religious organizations seeking to change corporate practices.
Although other fast-food chains such as Burger King and Taco Bell use many of the same practices, McDonald’s is a frequent target for critics because of its size and high profile.
In a statement, the company said it respects “everyone’s right to peacefully protest.” Later, spokeswoman Heidi Barker Sa Shekhem called the protest “very much a staged event.”
Like BlackAmericaWeb.com on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.
REGISTER NOW for the 2014 Allstate Tom Joyner Family Reunion taking place August 28- September 1, 2014 in Orlando, Florida! For booking information, call 407-248-9191.
(Photo Source: AP)
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
1 of 30
2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
2 of 30
3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
3 of 30
4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
4 of 30
5. Jus haaaanngin out
5 of 30
6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
6 of 30
7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
7 of 30
8. new new
8 of 30
9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
9 of 30
10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
10 of 30
11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
11 of 30
12 of 30
13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
13 of 30
14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
14 of 30
15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
15 of 30
16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
16 of 30
17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
17 of 30
18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
18 of 30
19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
19 of 30
20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
20 of 30
21 of 30
22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
22 of 30
23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
23 of 30
24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
24 of 30
25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
25 of 30
26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
26 of 30
27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
27 of 30
28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
28 of 30
29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
29 of 30
30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
30 of 30