Reported by April Taylor
The protests were taking place leading up to the company’s annual shareholders meeting. Authorities are reporting that those arrested were charged with criminal trespassing. Among those arrested were 101 McDonald’s employees and 38 clergy members and union activists. Also among those arrested were Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union. The organization is reported to be the financial and logistical backer for Fast Food Forward who organized the protests.
Some of the McDonald’s employees who were arrested were dressed in their work uniforms. Workers gathered from 33 cities across the United States. It is being reported that the group was charged with trespassing for crossing a police barricade that had been set up. Police departments from several other departments in the area assisted the Oak Brook Police Department in their efforts. It was reported that there were 250 officers present with some dressed in riot gear.
The protest was reportedly led by Rev. Dr. William Barber II who is the leader of the NAACP’s North Carolina chapter. Workers have been protesting demanding that McDonald’s increase their wages to $15 an hour, which many consider a living wage. Workers and their supporters argue that the company’s current wages force many employees to live in poverty. Protesters also want the company to address its marketing of unhealthy food to children.
Authorities estimate that more than 2,000 people attended the protest while McDonald’s is claiming the crowd was only estimated to be around 600 people. Authorities from the Oak Brook Police Department estimate the number to be between 1,000 ad 1,500. McDonald’s is not planning to change anything regarding the shareholders meeting and released the following statement: “Folks have a right to protest peacefully and express their views. We’re gearing up for our annual business meeting tomorrow and welcoming our shareholders to campus.”