More than 100 protesters camped out overnight at McDonald’s headquarters in Chicago’s western suburbs to get an early start on their push for higher wages.
Thousands of activists and fast-food workers prepared to disrupt the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Oak Brook Thursday for a second day of rallying in the “Fight for $15” movement.
"Nothing is going to stop us until we win," said Anggie Godoy, a McDonald's worker in Los Angeles. "Now is the time that we have to unite and be stronger because it's time that we have a decent wage. We are just trying to survive."
Organizers have promised to keep fighting for $15 an hour minimum wage and the right to unionize.
"We are all living in poverty regardless of what area we live in and McDonald's just made $1 billion in profit the first three months of this year," Godoy said.
Another McDonald’s employee, Naquasia LeGrand, told NBC 5 that she makes $7.25 per hour working as a store manager in North Carolina.
The minimum wage increase would nearly double her paycheck, which is why she was one of the hundreds who stood outside of the fast-food giant’s main gate on Jorie Boulevard in the pouring rain Wednesday.
“At McDonald’s, we take seriously our role in helping strengthen communities. Every year, we and our franchisees separately employ hundreds of thousands of people, providing many with their very first job,” Lisa McComb, a McDonald’s spokesperson, said in a statement. “We offer McDonald's employees the opportunity to develop the valuable skills and work ethic necessary to build successful careers even beyond our restaurants. Last July, we raised wages for all employees at our company-owned restaurants to $1 dollar above the local minimum wage and gave them the ability to earn paid time off. And because so many are just starting out in their careers, we invest in Archways to Opportunity, a set of programs for everyone that provides free high school completion courses and college tuition assistance so they can work toward earning a high school diploma or a college degree.”
Oak Brook police planned for about 8,000 demonstrators Wednesday night, but heavy downpour and storms kept many away. More than 3,000 protesters were expected Thursday, though no arrests had been reported.