While the general public decides to reject fast food served up by McDonald’s and dozens of other fast food chains, McWorkers are showing disdain for McDonald’s in a different way. On Wednesday, thousands of protesters from cities around the country stormed McDonald’s Oak Brook headquarters, demanding that the hourly wage for McDonald’s employees be raised to $15 an hour.
Protesters gathered about a half a mile west of the headquarters and slowly marched toward McDonald’s campus, chanting “people united will never be defeated.” At the head of the line of protesters, a banner was held saying: “McDonald’s $15 and union rights, not food stamps. #fightfor15.”
Though McDonald’s did announce that it would increase starting wages to $1 above the minimum at 1,500 company-owned locations starting July 1, that only makes up about 1/10 of the number of restaurants around the country.
As reported by ChicagoTribune:
“Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, called on McDonald’s to sit with a union at a national bargaining table and put some of its profits into the pockets of workers.
‘Even when we get $15 and a union we will keep fighting,’ Henry said.
In an interview, Henry said SEIU won’t necessarily represent fast food workers. She said workers will decide who will represent them when McDonald’s agrees to negotiate wages and benefits.
‘It doesn’t matter to us who the members become. What matters to us is that these workers win a union,’ Henry said.
The Rev. William Barber II, pastor of the Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, N.C., said the campaign extends beyond pushing for a living wage. This is a racial fight too, he said, explaining that people of color are disproportionally working in low wage jobs. He said that’s why the NAACP is supporting the Fight for 15.”
Interestingly and probably not coincidentally, Wednesday’s protest comes a day before the company’s annual shareholder meeting, and things are already looking relatively bleak for McDonald’s. The fast food giant is quickly diving out of its stable stock position and into a world of financial hurt as citizens of the United States and elsewhere have decided they are completely done with the company’s junk.
As reported by Business Insider months ago in a piece entitled McDonald’s Is Losing America:
“On Monday, McDonald’s reported global same-store sales that declined 2.2% month on month. This missed analysts’ expectations for a 1.7% decline. In the US, the story was even worse for the fast-food giant as same-store sales fell 4.6%.”
McDonald’s has been losing money fast, and even under-performing the stock market for quite some time. Amid these falling sales and continued financial worries, McDonald’s will be closing a record 700 stores by the end of the year.
Today’s meeting is the first under CEO Steve Easterbrook, who took over the CEO position on March 1. Easterbrook’s goal is to turn McDonald’s into a “modern, progressive burger company.”
“The movement’s push to increase wages has led to victories in various cities, including Chicago, which is raising its hourly minimum wage from $8.25 to $10 on July 1 and to $13 by mid-2019. On Tuesday, Los Angeles voted to increase its $9 per hour minimum wage up to $15 by 2020.
Last year, about 500 workers and community activists staged peaceful protests at McDonald’s annual meeting. On the first day, 138 people were arrested, including 101 workers, for trespassing.”
Featured photo credit: The Wall Street Journal