McDonald’s: Protesters March Outside Restaurant Chain’s Corporate Headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois

McDonald’s new chief executive, Steve Easterbrook, said he was “incredibly proud of a recent decision to heighten the wages for some workers, even as thousands of protesters outside the headquarters called on the company to do more ahead of its annual shareholder meeting in Oak Brook, Ill.

About 3,000 McDonald’s employees from across the United States gathered and chanted “We work, we sweat, put $15 in our check” as they marched towards McDonald’s headquarters with signs reading “McDonald’s: $15 and Union Rights, Not Food Stamps.”

As the annual McDonald’s shareholder meeting commenced, protesters delivered a petition signed by 1.4 million people calling on McDonald’s to support a $15 minimum wage and to respect workers’ rights to unionize.

“We’re here to tell McDonald’s and its shareholders to invest in the company and its workers instead of wealthy hedge fund managers and executives,” said Kwanza Brooks to The Guardian. She is a McDonald’s employee and mother of three children from Charlotte, North Carolina, who is paid a measly $7.25 an hour. “We’re tired of relying on food stamps to feed our own families. We need $15 and the right to form a union and we need it now.”

Earlier this year, McDonald’s announced a plan to raise pay for employees to $1 above the local minimum wage in company-owned stores, but company-owned stores only account for 10 percent of McDonald’s locations.

Keandra Guillmant, 25, McDonald’s worker, from Minnesota, said “I can’t raise my little boy on the $8 an hour I make. We are a two-person earning family, yet we still have to rely on government assistance.”

“It’s not fair that they [McDonald’s executives] are walking around there [the company’s headquarters] in Armani shoes, when I can’t afford any shoes. I want Versace heels.”

This comes after news earlier this month, where Easterbrook planned to lay off enough to people to trim $300 million in expenses, according to The Inquisitr.

Easterbrook, who took over at McDonald’s in March, is fighting to revive weak sales and convince the people that McDonald’s is a “modern, progressive burger company.” This push comes at an inconvenient time, when protests regarding low wages are brewing throughout the country.

Many feel that the company needs to stop marketing to children and retire Ronald McDonald.

McDonald’s shareholder and blogger Leah Segedie asked “What sort of modern, progressive company sends a clown to schools?”

“With regards to Ronald, Ronald’s here to stay,” Easterbrook responded, according to Yahoo, he added that the famed McDonald’s mascot was feeling”trendier and even more confident” after a recent makeover for the clown.

[Image Source: Antonio Perez/Zuma Press/Corbis]