Tags: mcdonalds | protests | fifteen dollars | ed rensi

McDonald's Protests: Workers 'Fight for $15,' Former CEO Discusses Robots

Image: McDonald's Protests: Workers 'Fight for $15,' Former CEO Discusses Robots
Demonstrators calling for an increase in the minimum wage to $15-dollars-per-hour march to McDonald's corporate headquarters during a protest on May 25, 2016 in Oak Brook, Illinois. McDonald's annual shareholders meeting is scheduled to be held in Oak Brook tomorrow. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 26 May 2016 12:41 PM

Hundreds of McDonald's protesters calling for higher wages prompted the hamburger empire to shut down its suburban Chicago headquarters on Wednesday.

The march took place during a downpour a day ahead of the company's shareholder meeting on Thursday. It was the third consecutive year the company has shut down ahead of its annual meeting because of protests, Reuters reported.

Protesters are calling for a $15-an-hour minimum wage and better benefits as part of the nationwide "Fight for $15" movement for a higher minimum wage that began in 2012.

"The importance of it is to actually get by, not to live paycheck to paycheck," McDonald's worker Naquasia LeGrand told The Associated Press.

Some protesters camped overnight outside the headquarters.

Last year, the company raised minimum wage at its company-owned stores to $1 above the local minimum wage and offered workers the ability to earn paid time off, the AP said.

Former McDonald's USA CEO Ed Rensi told Fox Business that the minimum wage movement could lead more businesses to look to machines in order to replace workers.

"I was at the National Restaurant Show yesterday and if you look at the robotic devices that are coming into the restaurant industry — it’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who’s inefficient making $15 an hour bagging French fries. It’s nonsense and it’s very destructive and it’s inflationary and it’s going to cause a job loss across this country like you’re not going to believe," Rensi said.

Oak Brook police were expecting about 8,000 people on Wednesday, but thunderstorms kept the number of protesters to fewer than 1,500, The Chicago Tribune reported.

Protesters came from as far away as St. Louis and Columbus.

"I'm here because my 8-year-old daughter needs a future," Greg Haddox of Columbus, Ohio, told the Tribune. "This isn't just about fast food workers; a lot of health care workers aren't making anywhere near $15 an hour, and any industry should be at $15 an hour."

Law enforcement officials have been planning for the protest for about five months, and more than 300 officers from 100 agencies were on site "to protect the rights of our residents and the protesters and to keep people off private property," Oak Brook Police Chief James Kruger told the Tribune.

In 2014, 138 people were charged with trespassing. No one was arrested last year.

Service Employees International Union organized the demonstration.

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Hundreds of McDonald's protesters calling for higher wages prompted the hamburger empire to shut down its suburban Chicago headquarters on Wednesday.
mcdonalds, protests, fifteen dollars, ed rensi
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2016-41-26
Thursday, 26 May 2016 12:41 PM
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