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110 protestors arrested outside McDonald’s HQ

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CHICAGO — About 110 protesters were arrested Wednesday outside McDonald’s corporate campus, according to the police department in Oak Brook, Ill.

The group of protesters had marched up the driveway of McDonald’s sprawling campus in suburban Chicago. They were met by about 250 law enforcement officers, including state police in riot gear, and were asked to leave. When they refused, the strikers were taken into custody.

The protests took place a day before McDonald’s annual meeting, where more protests are planned.

It was the latest chapter in the broader fast food protest movement that began over a year ago, where workers have been demanding that their wage be raised to a minimum of $15 an hour.

“We want to make sure that McDonald’s shareholders and CEO Don Thompson hear us and see us and know that these are the workers they are pushing into poverty,” said Kendall Fells, a spokesman of the workers organizing group Fast Food Forward.

Earlier in the day, McDonald’s shut down its main headquarters building ahead of the protests. A company spokeswoman said: “The police advised us to close in advance for security and traffic purposes.”

That led the crowd of about 1,500 people to march through another entrance in the campus. The protesters included McDonald’s and other fast food restaurant workers, clergy and community leaders.

In a statement, McDonald’s said: “We respect everyone’s rights to peacefully protest. We are focused on welcoming our shareholders to McDonald’s annual meeting.”

The issue of fast-food industry pay has been in the headlines over the past year.

While the federal minimum wage is still $7.25 an hour, several states and cities have recently enacted laws to increase their wage floor to an average of $10.10 in most places and as much as $15 in Seattle.

Just last week, protesters in cities including New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles joined strikes outside of fast-food restaurants demanding their minimum hourly wage be raised to $15 an hour.

The average hourly wage of fast-food employees is $9.09, or less than $19,000 per year for a full-time worker.

A recent report from public advocacy group Demos found that CEOs at fast-food companies earn 1,000 times what the average fast-food employee earns, making it one of the biggest pay disparities in the American economy.


  • Ty Raid @WM2793

    Pay them $15 an hour so the price of the grandkids happy meal goes to $10 what a bunch of bonehead spongebob wannabes

    • Churchill Hornstein

      Who is the idiot? Keep disparaging the people who actually make money for the brass, while their pay and bonuses continue to vacuum money from the economy. The front line of any business is the salesperson on the floor. Pay them better, you get a healthier economy. Or have you just not been paying attention for the last 20 years?

  • Red

    Seriously these people are idiots. McDonald’s was notate for a career of flipping burgers. Teenagers worked these to learn the basics of the work place. Now they’re wishing the paid attention in school.

    • ThePear

      I’m not sure if you’re aware of what happened in the mid/late 2000s with our economy, but I clearly remember millions of job layoffs. Those people formerly working in offices and factories, often with higher education degrees, were forced to find work elsewhere or lose their homes. Many of them could only find work in the fast food industry (nowhere else was hiring). Yes, the wages were meager going in but desperation forced their hand. However, after working in this industry for awhile, these newer-type of fast food employees quickly realized that the job was not menial and brainless. In fact, they realized that fast food restaurants were enjoying the stigma of having uneducated employees because that allowed the company to get away with paying the minimum while engaging in predatory behavior towards employees and massively increasing corporate profits. We should be thanking this newer generation of fast food workers for calling out this corporate assault on our fellow American workers, not disparaging them simply because we assume ourselves as smarter than them…

      • Red

        Unfortunately, this goes back to the fact that fast food was not intended for a career. There are chefs in restaurants who don’t even get paid that much. Why the hell would I pay someone $15 an hour just to press buttons on the screen and to put prepackaged meat on a little heat up plate? Does that make any sense to you?

      • ThePear

        It does make sense. Those people “just pressing buttons” are the front-line of a billion dollar corporation whose top-dogs pull in six-figure salaries for “sitting in a chair all day.” I don’t care one bit if Bob in the corporate office is a nice guy, if the company’s front-line doesn’t get the job done then I won’t spend my money there. That makes them important, does it not?

        And enough with the notion that these jobs weren’t meant for careers. Any job should have the option of being a career. The idea that some jobs aren’t meant to be sustained is noting but a excuse not to pay employees their fair share of the company’s profits. It’s simply corporate propaganda.

      • Ty Raid @WM2793

        It doesn’t matter.
        It’s not a $ 15 an hour job.
        Go ask your boss for double yoursalary and let me know how hard he laughs. I already know you don’t have a head for business dum@$$

      • ThePear

        Glad to know that someone who has no idea who I am can make observations about my business knowledge.

        I happen to work in management for a NC-based manufacturing company. I don’t need to ask my boss for a doubled salary, because my company pays each of its 800+ employees fairly. Even our custodial staff, our “un-skilled” warehouse staff, and our summer interns make well above a living-wage. With this business model we survived times when many of our fellow manufactures went out of business and/or had massive lay-offs. We’ve continued to grow and strengthen our company from top to bottom with a focus on taking care of our employees just as well as we take care of our customers and shareholders.

        The problem with saying “that isn’t a $15/hour job” is that you are diminishing the value of labor, without taking any outside factors into consideration. Look at a company like McDonald’s. Their prices have increased, their profits have increased, their corporate salaries have skyrocketed, and yet their front-line pay has stagnated. Increasing inflation, living costs, and travel costs have rendered $7.xx/hour jobs obsolete. You may not think these people deserve a living-wage for doing such menial jobs, but the truth is that these people are going in and doing their jobs, while earning massive profits for their companies and then being told that their work, which again brings in massive profits, doesn’t warrant enough respect to be able to pay for their housing and food on a monthly basis. Furthermore, whats going to happen if wages don’t increase and yet the price of food, gas, and clothing continues to rise? At some point it will stop becoming profitable for employees to even go to work.

        Finally, I’ll leave you with this question. If food service jobs do not warrant $15/hour pay in your opinion, does the job of a corporate office member in the same company warrant a six or seven-figure income?

    • RCC

      So Pear….how much do you expect to get paid for sitting in a chair all day and working 60+ hours/week, managing a multi-billion dollar business on multiple continents, traveling to those continents, using your vast experience and education that you paid for to manage the corporation, and spending the majority of your time away from your family? I bet it’s way more that $15/hour! I bet it’d be more along the lines of the salaries that the CEO’s make. Considering you want $15/hr to touch buttons on a screen and calling it sales. Haha! Hypocrite. Keep asking for you $15/hr and see what happens. You have no responsibilities that merit $15/hr. other than getting an order right…and half the time that doesn’t happen. Former McDonald’s button pusher here…and the job is not worth $15/hr.

      • ThePear

        Interesting you mention that. I work for a company where I travel both nationally and internationally representing our business interests. I went to college, and have plenty of work experience. I am as valuable to my company as the people you’re using as examples. I spend a lot of time away from my family, I work on average 55 hours a week, and I make a 5-figure income. Not a 6-figure income. Not a 7-figure income. And you know what? I’m fine with it. I live comfortably but not exorbitantly. I don’t support higher wages for fast food employees for any personal gain. I support it because I see an industry taking advantage of its employees in the name of profit.

        My question to you, how much has the outside world changed since you worked in fast food? If you worked there years ago, then $15 definitely would’ve been overpayment for your job. However, with the increasing costs of living across the country, $15 isn’t “as much” as it used to be. We’re at a dangerous time in this country where wages are severely lagging behind corporate growth and profit. If we don’t address increasing wages then we are supporting manufactured poverty.

      • RCC

        Pear, I’m all for paying people what they’re worth. At my current position I was making minimum wage…and I’m a manager! I earned a monthly bonus by meeting a quota. However, I was also promised a $1/hr. raise…which they didn’t give me. The next year, I threatened to quit if they didn’t give me a $2/hr. raise. I’m a valuable employee and increased the profits of the company exorbitantly the past two consecutive years over the first year I started. This year it looks to be even higher than the past two. So, I’m worth that $2 extra/hr ($9.25/hr) and the monthly bonus…which really isn’t all that much. I still bring home less than $22K/year. I’m a manager and made this company more money in one year than what I earn. This is over what they were already making. So, I basically paid my own salary by doing my job…since I’m the only person in the office. However, my job, while it does require common sense and at least a high school diploma, if not an associates degree, isn’t all that demanding or cerebral. Now, you’re saying that a job that doesn’t require a high school diploma, just the ability to listen, know the difference between a cheeseburger and quarter-pounder, and how to count money merits $15/hr? That’s more money that I make working 35 hr./wk. A person working part-time (30 hrs./wk) would make $23,400/yr.! How is that even justifiable?

      • ThePear

        No no, I’m not saying they deserve something that you don’t. They, AND certainly you, should both be paid more for your work. I’m actually appalled by what your employer has done to you… And i will gladly fight any day for respective wages for a person who achieves as much at their job as you have at yours.

        Just remember, the people arguing in favor of higher fast food wages aren’t just looking out for fast food employees themselves. Many of us do not work in the industry but still recognize the injustice. We are fighting for fair wages, fair treatment, and deserved respect for all employees of all companies. including you at yours.

      • RCC

        Pear, so let me get this straight. You support raising the wage of low income workers; and you think that owners and CEOs should cut their salaries to fund raising that wage because they make too much money. They should be perfectly happy making less money. Does that include the President and our elected leaders? What about actors, actresses, singers, and pro athletes?

        The president “…earns a $400,000 annual salary, along with a $50,000 annual expense account, a $100,000 nontaxable travel account, and $19,000 for entertainment.” That’s a total of $569,000/yr….over half a million dollars…and he doesn’t even have to pay rent, buy clothes, pay utilities, buy gas, or pay the salaries of people that iron his underwear and serve him hot cocoa in bed. Let’s not forget unlimited use of Airforce One and security…even if it’s a personal vacation! If a CEO that makes $569,000/yr. has hired help in their home to cook, clean, and babysit, then that comes out of their annual salary. I just thought you might need a little better perspective about CEOs salaries. The people that work for them are paid out of what the CEO earns, not what the company earned. The people that work for Obama…WE pay their salaries.

        Now, let’s get back to those actors and athletes. Did you know that Kobe Bryant makes $61.9M? He gets $34M just in ENDORSEMENTS ALONE. McDonald’s CEO, Don Thompson, earns a total of $13.8M. This includes, “…a base salary of $979,167 and stock awards of $660,129.” A “pay increase came mostly from his option awards, which rose to $3.2 million from $785,902, and his incentive pay, which rose to $8.6 million from $1.5 million. All other compensation came to $324,816 and also included perks such as use of a company plane and retirement plan contributions.” Wanna take a guess what company endorses Kobe Bryant. Come on, I know you know the answer! Is it okay to fork over millions to an athlete but not to a CEO?

        Hmmm, I wonder how much Obama’s perks for using the “company plane” comes to? His retirement plan? Oh, wait….that’s about $200,000 for LIFE! Even if Obama only lives to be 75 years old, that’s $4M for doing a job that he can only hold for 8 years and his pay isn’t even based off of performance!

      • ThePear

        I don’t disagree with any of that. However, its a slippery slope comparing professional athletes to corporate CEOs. There is a critical difference: the NBA and the NFL are non-profit organizations. Their revenues are distributed to their members, in a business model that doesn’t leave anyone living off minimum wage. Even the part-time sales associates in NBA brand stores are even paid $10+/hr. Would I like to see the pay gap decreased in organizations like this as well? Absolutely. But they at least deserve credit for doing better than the rest. Do I think its insane how much coaches and athletes are paid? Absolutely. But at least I know they get fired or cut from the team when they don’t perform.

        As for congressional and presidential pay, I definitely disagree with their income. I find no reason to pay someone more than the average american makes to do a voluntary public service. However, don’t let your bias against the current president block your ability to reason. A few of the expenses you listed are presidential duties and requirements of the job. Back on point… I would have no qualms with slashing overall elected official pay, at least on the federal level (I am less knowledgeable about state and local elected official incomes).

      • RCC

        I used Obama because he’s the current President. I disagree with all big government. You stated that some of the President’s perks are part of the requirements and duties of the job. Wouldn’t the same apply for CEO’s? Also, almost all of the expenses incurred as part of the job of being President are covered by the people…it doesn’t come out of his personal pocket. For instance, if a CEO goes on vacation, he has to pay to fly wherever he wants to go, pay for his room, and whatever food he eats. Obama wanted to go to Africa. The expense of flying his entire entourage, their salaries, room, and eating expenses were covered by us. It’s still a perk to go on vacation while you’re president because your expenses are minimal. And actually, the president can get fired based off of performance. It’s called impeachment.

        Now for the NBA and NFL. While they may be non-profit…they still make money…A LOT of money…the same as corporations do. However, as you stated, they get rid of all their money. They make money off of consumers…the same as corporations. So, consumers are feeding the bottom line of professionals sports, the entertainment industry, and corporations. Our dollars pay their salaries because, let’s face it, we consume, consume, and consume. So the CEOs get those big fat salaries based on their performance…or they can get fired too. They also have to pay taxes…higher taxes than either your or I pay. In fact, the top 10% of earners pay over 70% of all income taxes. That money is then used to pay the salaries of the government and for things like the Earned Income Credit, low-income housing, and SNAP. Let’s not forget all the charities that they fund too. Stopping that cycle isn’t going to happen by paying low income earners more money. It’ll be a temporary fix that we’ll find ourselves in again in a few years. It’s been happening ever since the minimum wage was enacted.

  • M

    God forbid the grand kids should eat a home cooked meal! Maybe if a “happy meal” did cost $10, childhood obesity would become a thing of the past.

    • Flower Jasmin

      This is beyond naive to think that people are obese because of “happy meals” at Mcs. The portion is tiny and this is from a person who is skinny and eats little.
      It is also a propagated lie that Mcs is cheap and supposedly food of the poor. For the same money, you could get plenty at supermarket but lazy bones like the easy way. Fresh food is difficult to deal with. Buy, store, wash, prepare, cook. Packaged is just easy.
      One can always tell who are the losers–the ones who think the problem is caused by somebody else. Really, only losers point fingers (even if it has truth to it), winners can have mud in their face and will still come out without blaming others.

  • angie

    Do they not understand that if they raise their pay most of them will lose their jobs because they wont be able to pay as many people? …and yes they food price will go up.

  • Thomas Noell

    Actually, the protestors stormed INSIDE the headquarters, in true militant, leftist, violent, Occupy fashion (and all we hear are phony reports of “Tea Party violence”, that has never actually happened, by the way). According to NBC News, our own William Barber, head of the disgraceful, band of parasites in our state NAACP, was on hand to lead the pathetic mob of rabble. I guess his failed Moral Mondays protests led him to incite unrest and lawlessness elsewhere, but Chicago’s mayhem is NC’s gain since our legislature can resume doing the will of the people without interruption by the angry mob who disrupt order when they cannot win an election (2010, 2012). Do us all a favor, William Barber….stay in Obama’s hometown, and gun-free, crime-ridden war-zone, and take the rest of the Moral Monday sloth with you.

    • ThePear

      ^ With a mindset like that, let’s be glad you weren’t around in the 1700s. You probably would’ve shot George Washington for being “violent, leftist, militant” traitor.

      Btw… You should totally use more hyperbole. It’d really help drive home that “he’s not mentally stable” feeling we get when we read your posts….

  • GS

    Why should they get paid $15 an hour for flipping burgers? If people want to earn $15 an hour they need to get training or an education and get a job that pays that much.

  • Darrell Parks

    Many people working at “skilled labor” jobs don’t make $15 an hour. While I understand the frustration of these people, and BTW, McDonald’s isn’t the only fast-food business, I feel many of these people have that “you owe me” sense of “entitlement” that is pushed, “brainwashed”, indoctrinated into people these days.

    • GC

      Agreed, I have a bachelors degree teach high school, and my salary works out to ~15.55 per hour. On top of that, it is salaried, meaning that all of the extra hours I spend I do not get paid for. I’d like to know why a part time worker with minimal education requirements doing a simple job deserves basically the same pay that I make when I had to invest thousands of dollars and years of my life into meeting the requirements of my job/career. I HAVE worked in those “unskilled” labor jobs, making less than what minimum wage is now (6.00 per hour in 2007) and I can definitely tell you that they shouldn’t get paid 15.00/hr, just like I shouldn’t have. If someone isn’t willing to work for fast food wages they should use their fast food job as a stepping stone to something better.

  • B

    It’s just a greedy world but at least in America we have the freedom to accumulate wealth unlike other communist countries.

  • Frank-Sinner

    If these people get 15 bucks an hour !! You will have a lot of other people after those jobs !!

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