More Than 100 Arrested as Protesters Bring Wage Fight to McDonald's HQ
Corporation closes office, restaurant as hundreds demonstrate nearby
OAK BROOK, Ill. -- An estimated 300 to 400 McDonald's workers and other protesters, many arriving on a fleet of a dozen or more buses, descended on the McDonald's campus near its headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill., on Wednesday, calling for a significant pay increase to $15 per hour and the right to unionize.
The protest comes on the eve of the company's shareholder meeting.
About 2,000 protesters, including about 325 McDonald's workers, were planning to picket the office building that houses the company's corporate offices, according to a Bloomberg report.
McDonald's Corp. told its 3,200 corporate headquarters employees to stay home Wednesday to avoid the protest, said the report.
"We've adjusted work schedules for our employees and access to our facilities to assist the Oak Brook Police Department and address the protests and the related traffic congestion," spokesperson Heidi Barker Sa Shekhem told the news agency.
The company also closed the heavily trafficked McDonald's restaurant adjacent to its headquarters, including its parking lot, which was being resealed while the protest began several block away.
Following consultation with the police, the protesters moved their demonstration the entrance to the McDonald's campus that houses Hamburger University and a Hyatt Lodge, also in Oak Brook.
Police officers--many in riot gear--guarded the protesters' route in front of the McDonald's campus and directed a steady flow of lunchtime traffic away from the area.
Protesters wearing a variety of t-shirts with messages such as "Fight for $15" and "Action Now" chanted, "Hey McDonald's you can't hide, we can see your greedy side" and "No Big Macs, no fries, make our wage supersize," as well as, "We are the union, the mighty, might union."
Oak Brook Police said about 110 protesters arrested for criminal trespass were from a group of McDonald's workers, clergy and union activists who chose to cross a police barricade, said a USA Today report.