McDonald’s, the world’s largest fast food restaurant chain, was forced to deal with disruptions outside its Oak Brook Illinois headquarters in the hours leading up to its annual meeting, according to an abcnews.com report published May 21, 2014.
Vocal protestors gathered outside the building, demanding better pay for McDonald’s employees, diminished marketing to children, and a host of other requisitions. McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson attempted to address the concerns to individuals inside the building, during a meeting. He pointed out that McDonald’s provided entry level job experience to people that often leads to better careers and he stated that the wages are in- line with industry norms.
"We believe we pay fair and competitive wages," Thompson said.
Low pay was the mainstay of the protest, but other issues were raised as well. One mother criticized McDonald’s for its marketing strategies aimed at children and she referred to Ronald McDonald as the “Joe Camel of fast food.” Thompson responded to the criticism, stating that the Ronald McDonald character is about fun. He added that his children consumed McDonald’s food while growing up and turned out very healthy.
"We are people. We do have values at McDonald's. We are parents," Thompson said.
McDonald’s has been attacked for its low wages for years. The most recent large- scale protest took place in 2012 in New York City when employees demanded wages of $15 per hour. The $15 wage was brought up once again at this protest, with demonstrators chanting "I want, I want, I want my $15."
More than 100 arrests were made during the protests, mainly for trespassing.
Fast- food restaurants have never been known for paying high wages. Entry level pay is almost always set at the minimum wage and McDonald’s has followed this policy for decades. This is why some feel the only solution to the problem is an increase in the Federal minimum wage. McDonald’s and other fast food restaurants oppose such a move, but it could be the only answer to a problem that isn't going away anytime soon.