McDonald's employees were among the over 100 people arrested for criminal trespass during a protest against the company's wages.
Anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 people showed up to the protest outside the fast food giant's Hamburger University campus in Illinois, including 325 employees in uniform. They "stormed through the company’s campus entrance," Bloomberg reports. About 110 of them were arrested, including several employees, by police wearing riot gear. Also arrested was Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, which has underwritten the employees' efforts.
The protest was for increased wages, an issue employees have been trying to organize around (at McDonald's and other chains) since at least 2012. One employee told Bloomberg that she wanted to earn $15 an hour and be able to join a union. She currently makes $7.50 and is on food stamps (something McDonald's recommends its employees sign up for). Full-time fast food employees earn a wage of $9.08 an hour and $18,880 a year on average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. McDonald's CEO Don Thompson earned a base salary of nearly $1 million in 2013. His total compensation was worth $13.8 million.
McDonald's has its annual shareholder meeting scheduled for tomorrow morning. Raising employee pay is not on the agenda, according to ABC 7, but CEO pay will probably be addressed and criticized, Reuters reports. Protestors plan to be there, too.
"When it comes to the minimum wage, that's a national discussion," said a spokeswoman for the restaurant. "It's not a McDonald's issue, it's an economic issue. We'll look to the folks in Washington to determine what happens."