McDonald's shuts HQ as workers protest over wages
MCDONALD'S said on Wednesday it temporarily closed its suburban Chicago headquarters for a third year in a row as fast-food workers plan to protest at its annual shareholders meeting with calls for wages of at least US$15 (S$21) an hour and union rights.
The company hosted the annual shareholders meeting at its Oak Brook, Illinois, headquarters yesterday, with security personnel in attendance as usual, spokesman Lisa McComb said.
Protest organisers said the annual meeting actions, scheduled to run from Wednesday evening through Thursday morning, will be the biggest and most aggressive of their kind thus far.
McDonald's encouraged employees to work from home on Wednesday, Ms McComb said.
The Fight For US$15 campaign, which is backed by the Service Employees International Union, since 2012 has had a hand in convincing some lawmakers and big employers to boost minimum wages and improve working conditions.
The union represents workers from those in fast-food outlets to home health aides.
McDonald's last July raised average hourly pay and began offering paid vacations and other benefits for the 90,000 workers at its company-operated United States restaurants.
"At McDonald's, we take seriously our role in helping strengthen communities, providing many with their very first job," Ms McComb said.
It says it cannot tell its franchisees how to pay their employees. Almost 90 per cent of its 14,000 US restaurants are run by franchisees.
McDonald's recently revived its business with a turn-around plan that included selling breakfast all day in the US.
While executives and shareholders have reaped salary hikes and gains in the stock price, front-line workers say they have not shared in the wealth.