Low wage, health activists prepare McDonald’s attack
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The McDonald’s annual meeting this Thursday is shaping up to be a heated one.
Activists want to put the brakes on CEO Don Thompson’s multimillion dollar pay package. Health advocates are petitioning LeBron James to stop peddling McDonald’s junk food to kids.
And, hundreds of fast-food workers are expected to protest for higher wages, starting a day before the meeting. All of this is happening as McDonald’s is fighting a slump in sales.
The company has already barred media from the event. Reporters had been welcome in previous years. McDonald’s said the idea of not inviting the media came from the media itself.
“This year, based on direct feedback from reporters and steadily declining media attendance, we are solely inviting media to listen to the meeting via web cast,” said McDonald’s spokesperson Lisa McComb.
The company’s reluctance to have reporters at the meeting is understandable, especially after negative press from last year’s meeting, when a nine-year-old girl took the microphone and told the CEO to stop tricking kids into, “wanting to eat your food all the time.”
There’s no reason to expect anything less this year.
“We will bring the concerns of health professionals, moms and other food advocates directly to CEO Don Thompson about the role that their kid-targeted marketing plays in driving an epidemic of diet-related diseases,” said Jesse Bragg of Corporate Accountability International, a health advocacy group.
Bragg’s group has written an open letter posted on its website asking LeBron James to reconsider his endorsement deal with McDonald’s. The group said McDonald’s is using “athleticism to sell unhealthy foods to kids.”
CNNMoney reached out to the basketball star, but did not receive a response.
Also presenting at the meeting will be CtW Investment Group, a shareholder group representing 5 million union pension holders. The group is asking McDonald’s shareholders to vote against the CEO’s pay package, which totaled $9.5 million in 2013.
Fast food company CEOs earn 1,000 times what the average fast-food worker earns, according to a recent report from public advocacy group Demos. The report found that fast food industry pay is one of the most unequal in the American economy.
The average hourly wage of fast food employees is $9.09, or less than $19,000 per year for a full time worker. The poverty level of a family of four in the U.S. is $23,850.
The fight against low wages is also driving hundreds of McDonald’s workers to corporate headquarters where organizers say they will begin protesting on Wednesday on the eve of the meeting.
Just last week, protesters in multiple cities, including New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles joined strikes outside of fast food restaurants demanding their minimum hourly wage be raised to $15 an hour.
McDonald’s may also hear from its own franchisees as word has spread that the group of people, who run and operate most of its outlets, have not been happy lately with decisions taken at corporate headquarters.
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