McDonald’s HQ Bans Media From Shareholders Meeting So You Won’t See THIS (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

On Wednesday, thousands of McDonald’s workers gathered at company headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois, to make their voices heard at the annual shareholders meeting. But of course, the top brass has no interest in hearing what they have to say. In fact, they’re doing everything possible to keep us from hearing what McDonald’s legions of underpaid workers have to say as well.

The Guardian reports McDonald’s barred press from covering the shareholder’s meeting, held on Wednesday and Thursday.

Shareholders and corporate governance groups said it was “extremely shocking” that a company the size of McDonald’s would try to hold its annual meeting behind closed doors, especially so soon after its new chief executive, Steve Easterbrook, promised to act as an “internal activist” and turn the struggling company into a “modern and progressive” burger chain.

In fact, Easterbrook’s “internal activist” seems quite determined to keep all those pesky “external activists” out. After all, it’s a CEO’s job to help shareholders loot all the company’s profits and leave only a pittance for their workers and franchise “owners.”  And with 78,592 stock options, Easterbrook will make out like a bandit for keeping McDonald’s workers’ wages as low as possible.

But wait: McDonald’s has another big shareholder coming to this meeting, whose interests don’t quite align with Easterbrook and the other top brass. The AFL-CIO represents 12 million working people around the world, and also happens to own 30 million shares of McDonald’s stock. And they told The Guardian McDonald’s is acting like they’ve got something to hide.

“We can’t think of a single other company who has dared to ban the press from an annual meeting. What does the company have to hide?”

Furthermore, the AFL-CIO’s Chief Investment Research Analyst Vineeta Anand demands that McDonald’s Corp. stop acting like a “secret society.”

“We call on McDonald’s to reverse their decision and allow the media. Sunshine is the best disinfectant, when you shine a light on a company it changes their behaviour. They are acting like some sort of secret society. McDonald’s is not an insignificant company, they are one of the nation’s best-known household names and it is extremely shocking and troubling that a company of its size would ban the press.”

McDonald’s told The Guardian they don’t have enough room for the press at HQ, but the media can watch the shareholder’s meeting via webcast. But Anand shoots that down as “the lamest of lame excuses.” McDonald’s fortunes may be sinking, but they still made $4.76 billion in profits last year — more than enough to afford a large enough venue.

“How many press were they expecting and how many investors? If it’s a question of hundreds of people, maybe they should rent a bigger room, and if they can’t afford that, it is pretty pathetic.”

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) also cries foul.

SEIU ‏@SEIU  May 18 .@McDonalds bans media from shareholder meeting; claims decision has nothing to do w/ upcoming #FightFor15 protest: …

SEIU ‏@SEIU May 18
[email protected] bans media from shareholder meeting; claims decision has nothing to do w/ upcoming #FightFor15 protest: …

Thousands gather at McDonald’s HQ to protest.

The real reason McDonald’s wants to corral the media into watching their dull webcast may very well be to prevent them from seeing all the excitement going on outside. McDonald’s would love for the world to dismiss all the strikes and protests as small groups of leftist cranks who need to shut up and get a job. The problem is, these people already have jobs that don’t pay enough. That’s why thousands of them are gathered outside to demand steady hours, the right to unionize, and a living wage. Organized by the SEIU, FightFor15 and other groups, The Chicago Tribune reports 2,500 showed up earlier on Wednesday and the organizers were expecting 5,000 from all over the country.

McDonald’s recently raised wages by 10 percent for all their employees, but have not required their franchises to do so. The 10 percent increase helps, but it’s not enough and it still leaves franchise workers out in the cold. 90 percent of all the McDonald’s in the U.S. are franchises. McDonald’s claims they can’t force their franchises to raise wages, which means their business model involves charging their franchisees out the wazoo so they don’t have enough to pay employees. A husband and wife franchiser team told The Guardian the rent McDonald’s charged at one location equaled 12.7 percent of their monthly sales. In addition, the couple spent over $500,000 on renovations for the space on top of the standard fees and equipment. The grill alone costs $15,000 and the milkshake machine will set you back $20 grand. And then, after all that, McDonald’s refused to renew their lease.

But even “just” 2,500 is a lot of people. Here they are marching on McDonald’s headquarters.

@FightFor15: This is what a movement looks like. On our way to McDonald's HQ #fightfor15

@FightFor15: This is what a movement looks like. On our way to McDonald’s HQ #fightfor15

And here’s one of many protesters with a blown-up and redacted version of an actual McDonald’s pay check to show how little workers make. One reason these checks are so insanely low is because McDonald’s workers have to make themselves available for their shifts, but they often get cancelled with very little notice.

chris dilts @chrisdilts  ·  3h 3 hours ago A minimum wage protester marches on McDonalds HQ in Oak Brook IL. #FightFor15

chris dilts @chrisdilts · 3h 3 hours ago
A minimum wage protester marches on McDonald’s HQ in Oak Brook IL. #FightFor15

Here’s a video with the crowd shutting down 22nd Ave.

Members of the SEIU also gathered to demand $15 per hour and union rights.

SEIU @SEIU  ·  3h 3 hours ago WE WANT $15 AND UNION RIGHTS! McDonald's, can you hear us? Marching onward for justice! #FightFor15 @fightfor15

SEIU @SEIU · 3h 3 hours ago WE WANT $15 AND UNION RIGHTS! McDonald’s, can you hear us? Marching onward for justice! #FightFor15 @fightfor15

Leaders of the #BlackLivesMatter movement are also throwing their weight behind the effort to lift low-wage workers — who are often men and women of color — out of poverty.

McDonald’s put their corporate offices on lockdown, of course. And if the protesters get hungry, tough luck: The local McDonald’s is “closed for repairs.”

Musical performances and speeches kept the crowd’s spirits up.

If you’d like to help, look for a protest near you. Or show your support by signing FightFor15’s petition to demand that McDonald’s start paying their workers a living wage.

Photo with May 20, 2015 protest march on McDonald’s HQ: @FightFor15/Twitter