Make us your home page
Instagram

McDonald's workers protest wages at annual meeting

Workers, organizers and supporters gather at McDonald’s Corp. headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill., on Thursday advocating a $15 hourly wage. “We believe we pay fair and competitive wages,” CEO Don Thompson said.

Associated Press

Workers, organizers and supporters gather at McDonald’s Corp. headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill., on Thursday advocating a $15 hourly wage. “We believe we pay fair and competitive wages,” CEO Don Thompson said.

OAK BROOK, Ill. — McDonald's CEO Don Thompson sought to address a growing chorus of critics on issues including worker pay and marketing to children at its annual meeting Thursday.

As hundreds of protesters chanted for higher wages outside, Thompson told the audience in the building that the company has a heritage of providing job opportunities that lead to "real careers."

"We believe we pay fair and competitive wages," Thompson said.

A day earlier, McDonald's closed one of its buildings in suburban Chicago, where protesters had planned to demonstrate over the low wages paid to its workers. Organizers then targeted another site on the company's headquarters, and police say 138 were arrested after they peacefully refused to leave the property.

As in years past, McDonald's marketing tactics to children was also brought up by speakers affiliated with Corporate Accountability International. One mother from Lexington, Ky., Casey Hinds, said Ronald McDonald was "the Joe Camel of fast food."

Thompson said McDonald's wasn't predatory and that Ronald McDonald was about letting kids have fun. He noted that his children ate the chain's food and turned out "quite healthy," with his daughter even becoming a track star.

"We are people. We do have values at McDonald's. We are parents," he said.

Although many fast-food chains engage in similar practices, McDonald's is a frequent target for critics because of its high profile. The criticism is becoming a more pressing issue for the world's biggest hamburger chain at a time when it is fighting to boost weak sales amid heightened competition.

Part of the problem is that people are shifting toward foods they feel are fresher or healthier, which has prompted McDonald's executives in recent months to underscore the quality of the chain's ingredients.

Still, the issue of worker pay has put McDonald's in an uncomfortable spotlight since late 2012, when protests for a $15-an-hour wage began in New York City. Demonstrators were out again before the meeting, chanting, "I want, I want, I want my $15."

McDonald's workers protest wages at annual meeting 05/22/14 [Last modified: Thursday, May 22, 2014 7:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming

    Roads

    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  2. A sports rout on Wall Street

    Retail

    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  3. Grocery chain Aldi hosting hiring event in Brandon Aug. 24

    Retail

    BRANDON — German grocery chain Aldi is holding a hiring event for its Brandon store Aug. 24. It is looking to fill store associate, shift manager and manager trainee positions.

  4. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik backs film company pursuing global blockbusters

    Corporate

    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik's latest investment might be coming to a theater near you.

    Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, invested in a new movie company looking to appeal to a global audience. | [Times file photo]
  5. Trigaux: Look to new Inc. 5000 rankings for Tampa Bay's future heavyweights

    Business

    There's a whole lotta fast-growing private companies here in Tampa Bay. Odds are good you have not heard of most of them.

    Yet.

    Kyle Taylor, CEO and founder of The Penny Hoarder, fills a glass for his employees this past Wednesday as the young St. Petersburg personal advice business celebrates its landing at No. 25 on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the country. Taylor, still in his 20s, wins kudos from executive editor Alexis Grant for keeping the firm's culture innovative. The business ranked No. 32 last year. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]