Low-wage workers supersize their protest at McDonald’s HQ

McDonald's protest
SERVED HOT: More than 2,000 protesters swarmed McDonald’s corporate headquarters in Oak Brook, IL, May 21 calling for front-line workers’ hourly wages to be increased to $15 an hour.

Demand $15 and union rights, instead of food stamps

Oak Brook, IL – The Fight for $15 movement turned a corner last month, winning a $15 minimum wage in Los Angeles, holding the largest protest ever at McDonald’s corporate headquarters, and delivering a petition with 1.4 million signatures telling the fast food giant its time to do the right thing and pay their people enough to survive.

On May 21, more than 2,000 protesters swarmed McDonald’s corporate headquarters in Oak Brook, IL, during the fast food giant’s shareholders’ meeting calling for hourly wages for the burger giant’s front-line workers to be increased to $15 an hour.

At the head of the long line of protesters marching to the headquarters workers held a banner: “McDonald’s $15 and union rights, not food stamps. #fightfor15.”


McDonald’s recently announced it will increase starting wages to $1 above the local minimum at company-owned restaurants effective July 1, but the move will only affect about one-tenth of McDonald’s restaurants across the country. The majority of McDonald’s restaurants are owned by franchisees, which make their own decisions about pay and benefits.

Overall, about 750,000 employees work at company- and franchisee-owned McDonald’s in the U.S.


(August 31, 2011) SEIU Executive President Mary Kay Henry posed for portrait used in Washingtonian Magazine article.  ~ Washington, DC ~ Photo by Christopher Leaman

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 told the Chicago Tribunes.

SEIU won’t necessarily represent fast food workers, Henry said. The workers will decide who will represent them if and when McDonald’s agrees to negotiate wages and benefits.

“It doesn’t matter to us who the members become,” Henry said. “What matters to us is that these workers win a union.”


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