1. On Wednesday, cops arrested 139 protesters outside McDonald’s world headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill.
2. The protest was planned ahead of the McDonald’s annual shareholders meeting on Thursday. An estimated 1,500 people demonstrated on Wednesday.
3. Those arrested included a group of 101 McDonald’s workers and 38 clergy and union activists who chose to cross a police barricade.
4. Oak Brook police said protesters were arrested for criminal trespassing.
5. As the arrests were made, protesters chanted: “Hey McDonald’s You Can’t Hide, We Can See Your Greedy Side,” and “No Big Macs, No Fries, Make our Wage Supersize.”
6. The protest was the latest in a series that have taken place over the past year and a half, challenging McDonald’s median wage of $8.94 and demanding the right to form a union.
7. Workers and activists say they have focused on McDonald’s because of its size and influence.
“Workers are taking on the biggest, baddest, richest in the $200 billion fast-food industry,” said Kendall Fells, leader of Fast Food Forward, a group which helped organize the protest. “If we can bring McDonald’s to the table, the road ahead will be a lot easier.”
8. “We can’t treat corporations like people, and people like things,” said Rev. Dr. William Barber II, head of the NAACP’s North Carolina chapter, who led the march onto the sprawling McDonald’s headquarters.
“A living wage is a moral mandate, and it’s time for McDonald’s to pay fast-food workers their just due now.”
9. At Thursday’s meeting, McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson briefly mentioned the issue, even as 800 protesters marched outside in a second day of protests. Thompson defended McDonald’s as a great first employer for young workers.
“McDonald’s is often a first job for many entering the workforce,” Thompson said. “About one-third of our employees are 16 to 19.”
10. Thompson noted that 60% of employees are younger than 25 — and 70% are part time. “We are proud that we open doors to opportunity.”
11. Many protesters said they were angered and insulted by the remarks, as they have worked for McDonald’s for more than 10 years and their work was not a start, but part of their career.
“I’ve been working for McDonald’s for 10 years, and my hourly paycheck is the same now as it was my first day on the job: $7.35,” said Cherri Delisline, a mother of four from Charleston, S.C. “McDonald’s can keep on saying that we are teenagers, but saying it over and over again doesn’t make it true.”