McDonald's workers descend on headquarters ahead of annual meeting

Wed May 21, 2014 10:04am EDT

A McDonald's restaurant sign is seen at a McDonald's restaurant in Del Mar, California April 16, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake

A McDonald's restaurant sign is seen at a McDonald's restaurant in Del Mar, California April 16, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Blake

(Reuters) - Fast-food workers from three dozen U.S. cities on Wednesday will protest at the headquarters of McDonald's Corp (MCD.N), calling for a significant wage hike, as company shareholders also prepare to weigh in on the pay of the fast-food giant's top executives.

The latest, and possibly largest, protest against the global chain comes a day ahead of a shareholders vote on executive pay at McDonald's, where Chief Executive Don Thompson took home total compensation of $9.5 million in 2013.

Low-wage U.S. restaurant and retail workers are calling for a rough doubling of pay to $15 per hour and the right to unionize. Their frequent protests have helped fuel a national debate on income inequality at a time when many middle- to low-income Americans are struggling to make ends meet.

Jessica Davis, a 25-year-old McDonald's crew trainer with two children, said CEO Thompson is earning his millions on the backs of working mothers and fathers.

Davis, who works at a company-owned McDonald's in Chicago, says she earns $8.98 per hour and works part-time despite requests for more hours.

"We need to show McDonald's that we're serious and that we're not backing down," said Davis, who plans to join Wednesday's protest.

McDonald's, which is grappling with sagging U.S. sales and profit-crimping beef price spikes, does not disclose average pay for restaurant workers, most of whom work for McDonald's franchisees.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 3.5 million fast-food and counter workers in the United States earn a median hourly wage of $8.83, or almost $18,400 per year based on a 40-hour work week without vacation.

Demos, a public policy think tank in New York, said fast-food workers are the U.S. workforce's lowest paid occupation. A Demos report found that the CEO-to-worker compensation ratio for the fast food industry was more than 1,000-to-1 in 2013.

Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG.N) shareholders, in a non-binding vote, on May 15 came down more than 3-to-1 against the advisory pay proposal from the popular burrito seller, where co-CEOs Steve Ells and Monty Moran received total 2013 compensation of $25.1 million and $24.4 million, respectively.

U.S. President Barack Obama has pushed Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour from the current $7.25, a move fought by Republicans in Congress.

Twenty-one states and Washington, D.C. have minimum wages higher than the federal minimum wage, and 38 states have considered minimum wage bills during the 2014 session, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (2)
I have never come across a single fast food worker that was worth $15/hr. Fast food jobs aren’t meant to support a family. If you want more money, get a marketable skill. At $15/hr there should be a lot more expected than taking and filling a burger order. I have worked fast food jobs and they aren’t that difficult, if you have some sort of intelligence and work ethic. If you insist on such a huge wage hike, get ready to not have a job. It would be a better idea for the businesses to use computers or out-sourced labor. Factory workers should be asking for the wage hikes, not burger flippers. Want more money? Do more/better work. Asking if they want to super-size does not require enough skill to deserve $15/hr. Grow up and get a real job like everyone else that needed more money.

May 21, 2014 12:16pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
diluded0000 wrote:
What’s amatter homelandsafari, afraid somebody is going to take away your Happy Meal? When you say fast food jobs aren’t meant to support a family, it doesn’t change the fact that people are trying to support families on fast food jobs. Do you not get that these employees are valuable enough to sustain a billion dollar company? Working fast food twenty years ago doesn’t make you an expert on how it is now. The career paths are different, or don’t exist any more. I just get disgusted with people that blame these workers for their plight in life, while I get stuck funding social assistance for their kids. Money is coming out of my paycheck, and going to support a workforce for a billion dollar company. These companies aren’t creating jobs, they are creating people who work every day and are still dependent on social assistance to get by.

May 21, 2014 1:15pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.