McDonald’s Corp., which has pleased investors with three straight quarters of sales growth, is still facing workers calling for higher wages on the eve of its annual meeting.
Protesters are planning to escalate their annual demonstrations ahead of the meeting today, according to organizers that are funded by the Service Employees International Union. Hundreds of McDonald’s cooks and cashiers are expected to set up tents outside of the company’s U.S. headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill., and stay there overnight Wednesday. In all, as many as 10,000 fast-food, home-care and child care workers from across the U.S. will be protesting the meeting, the organizers say.
The demonstrations highlight the wage pressure facing the world’s largest restaurant chain. Advocates are lobbying for a minimum wage of $15 an hour, and they’ve already had success getting California and New York legislators to raise pay to that level in coming years.
“We take seriously our role in helping strengthen communities,” McDonald’s spokeswoman Lisa McComb said in response to the planned demonstrations. “Every year, we and our franchisees separately employ hundreds of thousands of people, providing many with their very first job.”
In preparation for the disruptions, McDonald’s corporate employees were told to work from home Wednesday and today, the company said.
Coping with labor costs will remain a challenge as McDonald’s executes a comeback under Chief Executive Officer Steve Easterbrook. The company has reignited sales growth in the U.S. with all-day breakfast and value deals, such as offering two sandwiches for $5. Same-store sales rose 6.2 percent globally in the latest quarter.
“The actions we’ve taken are working,” he said during a conference call in April. “Customers are noting a difference and are choosing McDonald’s more often.”