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article imageNo fries with that — McDonald's HQ closes before worker protest

By Nathan Salant     May 21, 2014 in Food
Oak Park - The world's largest fast-food chain's corporate headquarters near Chicago closed Wednesday after hundreds of McDonald's employees threatened to protest demanding higher wages.
"The building where the protestors told the police they were visiting is the building the police advised us to close in advance for security and traffic purposes," McDonald's Corp. spokeswoman Lisa McComb told Cable News Network (CNN).
The parking lot at the McDonald's campus in Oak Park, Ill., was nearly empty early Wednesday and a 24-hour restaurant there appeared closed, CNN said.
Protest organizers said they expected more than 2,000 demonstrators, including restaurant workers from McDonald's and other fast-food chains, and community and religious leaders.
Protesters are demanding that workers be paid a minimum of $15 an hour, more than twice the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour that many receive.
Protesters also are demanding the right to organize, CNN said.
But many states have a higher minimum wage that fast-food companies must comply with, CNN said.
"We want to make sure that McDonald's shareholders and CEO Don Thompson hear us and see us and know that these are the workers they are pushing into poverty," Kendall Fells of organizing group Fast Food Forward told CNN.
"We want them to know what it's like to make a decision to buy a bus pass or feed your kids," Fells said.
The protest was called for Wednesday and Thursday to coincide with McDonald's annual shareholders meeting, also being held at the Oak Park campus.
McDonald's referred to that meeting in a written statement released Wednesday, CNN said.
"We respect everyone's rights to peacefully protest," the statement said.
"We are focused on welcoming our shareholders to McDonald's annual meeting," it said.
Fast-food workers nationally earn an average of $9.09 per hour, which comes out to less than $19,000 per year for a full-time worker, CNN said.
Public advocacy group Demos released a report recently saying fast-food company CEOs earn 1,000 times what the average worker receives.
Last week, protests were held in cities across the country, including New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles, CNN said.
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