May 21 Fast-food workers from three dozen U.S.
cities on Wednesday will protest at the headquarters of
McDonald's Corp, 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
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
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 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