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.
“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.
“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."
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