McDonald's workers continue 'Fight for 15' protests at shareholder's meeting

McDonald's workers will protest at the fast food company's annual shareholder meeting to call on executives to raise wages for employees at company-owned and franchise-owned restaurants. The protest comes on the heel of the "Fight for $15" movement's recent success.

Matt Rourke/AP/File
Pennsylvania State Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, at a demonstration calling for a raise of the minimum wages to $15 an hour at a McDonald's restaurant in Philadelphia. McDonald's employees from across the country will protest at the fast food corporation's annual shareholder meeting again at its world headquarters Wednesday and Thursday.

McDonald's employees from across the country will protest at the fast food corporation's annual shareholder meeting again at its world headquarters Oak Brook, Illinois Wednesday and Thursday.

According to organizers, workers will protest at the company's headquarters on Wednesday at noon CT and at the corner of Jorie Boulevard and Forest Gate Drive, about 1.5 miles from its campus, on Thursday.

The protest also shortly follows a Harvard Business Journal report that found McDonald’s spent $29.4 billion on buybacks, the repurchases of shares, between 2005 and 2014. Buybacks allow companies to manipulate stock prices and increase their value. But opponents of the practice say that comes at the employees' expense, because the money used in buybacks could have helped increase wages, according to the Institute of New Economic Thinking.

McDonald's employees also protested at the company's shareholder meeting last year. Police arrested 139 protesters on the day prior to the meeting, according to USA TODAY. As they were arrested, workers chanted "Hey McDonald's You Can't Hide, We Can See Your Greedy Side," and "No Big Macs, No Fries, Make our Wage Supersize." 

Workers paid by the hour have seen their wages stagnate since the 2009 recession, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. But this week's protest comes on the heels of major developments for the nearly three-year-old "Fight for $15" movement, a movement of workers protesting to earn $15-an-hour wages. On Tuesday, Los Angeles City Council gave initial approval to raise the city's minimum wage to $15 by 2020. In New York state, Governor Andrew Cuomo has set up a Wage Board to investigate and make recommendations on increasing minimum wage in the fast food industry. 

“The promise of the minimum wage is not unlike that of the American Dream – if you work hard, you should be able to provide for your family and build a brighter future," Cuomo says in a statement Wednesday. "Yet for tens of thousands of hardworking men and women in the fast food industry, that promise has been forsaken. When 60 percent of fast food workers in the Empire State have at least one family member on public assistance – the highest rate of any industry in our economy – it is clear that the minimum wage is not working."

As McDonald's employees and other low-wage workers continue to voice their grievances, the fast food company has seen its finances slump. Same-store sales fell 0.6 percent in April globally, while US same-store sales decreased 2.3 percent. In the first three months of 2015, McDonald's reported its revenue was down 11 percent and its profits were down about 30 percent. Earlier this year, McDonald's closed 350 poorly-performing stores in US, Japan, and China. 

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