OAK BROOK, Ill. (WLS) — Protestors dispersed before 10 a.m. Thursday after a peaceful, but loud rally outside McDonald’s corporate headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill.
Douglas Hunter, who works at a McDonald’s in Austin, has pumped up the crowd at dozens of Fight for Fifteen protests. He says he does it for more than higher wages.
“I’m impassioned about this because it directly affects my community and communities all over this country. These low wages. There’s a lot of violence. There’s a lot of anger,” he said.
Antione Heron said young men and women can’t build themselves up when low wages bring them down. He worked for a McDonald’s in Washington, D.C., while attending Howard University. He said he didn’t earn enough to cover tuition, so he dropped out to come home and attend community college.
“My whole life, my dream was set on going to college and finishing my degree and starting my career in teaching. But, because I wasn’t able to afford it due to lack of financial resources, I’m pushed back,” Heron said.
More than a thousand demonstrators, many of whom were McDonald’s employees, participated.
“This isn’t just a McDonald’s thing. I was just talking to someone from churches. People are here from Popeye’s, Walmart, nurses, health care workers, even some part-time professors at the universities are a part of this,” Dan Fein, Walmart employee, said.
McDonald’s said previously it’ll raise pay a dollar above the local minimum wage by July 1, 2015. But that increase affects only for about 10-percent of the company’s restaurants, which are corporate-owned. The rest are run by franchisees that set their own wages.
“The company and franchisees, we have a great relationship. There’s idea sharing. There’s learnings that will happen. So, we know that the franchisees will look at this model and they’ll make their decisions in the future for their own individual restaurants,” Heidi Barker, McDonald’s spokeswoman, said.
Protestors handed off a petition they said was signed by 1.4 million people around the world demanding McDonald’s pay workers $15/hour wages and allow them to form a union.