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'No Big Macs, No Fries, Make Our Wage Supersize'

Two days of protests greet McDonald's shareholders meeting outside Chicago. More than 100 were arrested on Wednesday.

CHICAGO — The McDonald's shareholders meeting began Thursday at 8 a.m. with a crowd of 400 protesters descending on the suburban campus of the global fast-food chain.

Thursday's protesters dispersed in the morning. The scene outside McDonald's HQ in Oak Brook, IL, on Wednesday was quite different, however, as protesters marched into a wall of police in riot gear and began to sit and sing. The activists are demanding a $15 minimum wage for McDonald's employees and the right to unionize.

Authorities say 138 people were arrested and charged with trespassing.

Tyree Johnson, 46, of Chicago, was among them. He's worked for McDonald's for 22 years.

“They said if you don’t step away from the property we will put you under arrest, so we sat down and one by one they picked us up,” he told VICE News. “We stood our ground and took the arrest.”

Johnson said he still makes "poverty wages."

"We won't stop until we get our demands, $15 and the right to form a union without retaliation," he said. "And respect, that's the most important thing. We are not just fighting for wages, we're fighting for dignity and respect also."

Inside the meeting Thursday, Chief Executive Don Thompson and others were confronted by activists who questions about the company’s marketing practices and employee compensation, reports the Chicago Tribune.

» Related: A gallery of protest scenes shared on Twitter

“Many of your employees can barely make ends meet on poverty wages,” said Sriram Madhusoodanan, an organizer with Corporate Accountability International, noting that McDonald's spends billions on marketing and executive pay.

Thompson did not address the wage issues.

"It is hard to make a living off of $7.40 an hour," the Rev. Arthur Berry Sr. told the Tribune on Thursday morning. He also was arrested on Wednesday. "So I'm here to support them in any way I can. ... I went to jail in support."

» Related: McDonald's new Happy character met with fear, revulsion and mockery

Lee Jacobsen May 28, 2014 at 04:19 PM
Eventually the govt will create a class of minimum wage service jobs, passing laws making it illegal to automate food services for example. The govt is already dictating the pay rate, might as well move on to the next level and dictate the job descriptions as well. Don't think so? Talk to GM , even their former CEO, and get an earful. The Post office is another example, $52 grand to hand out stamps, deliver mail, no wonder they are losing billions, subsidized welfare, and not much else. I can see why they are scared of Staples, who can do the same work at a fraction of the wage......
Elizabeth E. July 01, 2014 at 07:40 PM
I disagree with the amount, however, a raise should be made. What keeps getting ignored in these debates is that minimum wage workers, especially in the food industry - be it McD's or even the "fancier" fast food places, do not receive sick pay, vacation pay doesn't begin accumulating until after 1 year (and it's .03% of the number of hours worked each week), and holidays do not exist. Holidays are worked but only Thanksgiving and/or Christmas actually get these workers extra money.
Will Hein July 01, 2014 at 08:16 PM
It took Tyree Johnson 22 years to figure out that he was only making minimum wage- not te sharpest guy around, is he?
Lee Jacobsen July 01, 2014 at 11:52 PM
Want more than minimum wage? Grow a spine and ask your manager for a raise. It helps to give a few reasons. Having the govt establish a minimum wage is just govt intervention into the business world. Don't like the wage, what are unions for??? Find a job that pays more...why does the govt have to negotiate wages? Can't stand working for wages? Start your own business, and find out what real work is like....

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