Wednesday saw the area around McDonald’s Oak Brook Headquarters flooded with protesters demanding wage increase and union rights, right before the annual shareholder meeting.
Stories emerged from the crowd proving exactly the need for the giant burger company to set the changes claimed by protesters in motion.
Some of the people participating came from as far as Kansas City or New York just to get the chance to raise their voice on wage increase for front-line workers.
Darrell Miller, one of the protesters told the press how he travelled throughout Tuesday night in a bus filled with others looking to participate as well. He complained that the job he has takes away control of his life and independence as the 7.75 dollars per hour he makes are barely enough to account for his bills.
Adriana Alvarez, another face in the crowd and single mother of a 3-year old talked about the change that joining the Fight for $15 campaign had on her income. Her hourly pay increased from 7.75 to 10.50 dollars, yet this is barely enough with a child to raise and state budget cuts affecting child care subsidy.
The protesters came together half a mile further from the Oak Brooke Headquarters and slowly made their way there. The chanting that emerged from the estimated 2000 strong camp broadcasted:
“McDonald’s $15 and union rights, not food stamps,” or, „supersize my check”.
Banners could be seen with #fightfor15.
Before the reported march began, spokeswoman Heidi Barker announced that McDonald’s doesn’t have the power to increase the wages of franchisees employees. Perhaps they will naturally follow in line when McDonald’s will raise wages by 1 dollar at 1,500 company-owned locations starting July 1st.
Sadly, that is an increase that only affects 90,000 employees and targets only one tenth of McDonald’s restaurants nationwide. The rest of the approximately 750,000 employees are working at franchisees over which McDonald’s allegedly has no power.
The march comes is timely. The Fight for $15 brought along an increase in some cities, yet, supporters say, it is not enough. Chicago voted to increase the minimum wage from 8.25 dollars per hour to 10 dollars effective July 1st and 13 dollars by mid-2019. Los Angeles also voted a minimum wage increase from 9 dollars to 15 dollars by 2020. Others are expected to follow.
At the moment the protesters are not represented by any union. But Mary Kay Henry, the president of Service Employees International Union urged McDonald’s to take a sit at the bargaining table and agree to cut a slice of profits for its employees as well. When that happens, the protesters will decide which union is to represent them.
The protest in front of Oak Brook Headquarters was scheduled one before McDonald’s annual shareholder meeting and aims at putting the list of requests of McDonald’s employees on the table.
McDonald’s shares are down 0.69% in morning trading.
Newly invested CEO, Mr. Easterbrook has not commented anything on the protest so far. Yet, at the announcement of the wage increase of 1 dollar for company-owned restaurants he said:
„I am incredibly proud of the announcement. We voluntarily took leadership”.
Currently, McDonald’s, despite the ambitions of its CEO to make it a modern, friendlier and more customer-oriented than ever, is facing complaints regarding labor law violation in both state and federal courts. The hearing of the complaints has been delayed until October, although law-enforcement agencies agree with the SEIU that McDonald’s is responsible for franchisees employees as well.
SEIU also took to the Federal Trade Commission to look into how the franchisees set the terms of business models. Allegedly, McDonald’s might have build in regulations that limit franchisees’ possibility of minimum wage increase.
Image Source: voiceofdetroit.net
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