McDonald’s hits back at critics
As hundreds of protesters chanted for higher wages outside, Thompson on Thursday told the audience in the building that the company has a heritage of providing job opportunities that lead to “real careers.”
“We believe we pay fair and competitive wages,” Thompson said.
A day earlier, McDonald’s closed one of its buildings in Illinois, where protesters had planned to demonstrate over the low wages paid to its workers.
Organisers then targeted another site on the company’s headquarters in suburban Chicago, and police say 138 were arrested for refusing to leave the property.
As in years past, McDonald’s marketing to tactics to children was also brought up by speakers.
One mother from Kentucky, Casey Hinds, said the company’s clown mascot, Ronald McDonald, was “the Joe Camel of fast food”.
Thompson said McDonald’s wasn’t predatory and that Ronald McDonald was about letting kids have fun.
He noted that his children ate the chain’s food and turned out “quite healthy”, with his daughter even becoming a track star.
“We are people. We do have values at McDonald’s. We are parents,” he said.
Although many fast-food chains engage in similar practices, McDonald’s Corp is a frequent target for critics because of its high profile.
The issue of worker pay in particular has put McDonald’s in an uncomfortable spotlight since late 2012, when protests for a $US15 ($A16) an hour wage began in New York City.
Demonstrators were out again Thursday morning before the meeting, chanting, “I want, I want, I want my $15”.
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