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Protests start ahead of McDonald’s shareholders’ meeting

Demonstrators calling for an increase in the minimum wage to $15-dollars-per-hour march to McDonald's corporate headquarters on Wednesday. McDonald's annual shareholders meeting is scheduled to be held in Oak Brook Thursday. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

OAK BROOK — Protesters rallied outside a McDonald’s for higher wages, and the company says employees at its headquarters were working from home Wednesday ahead of more planned demonstrations tied to its annual shareholders meeting.

The world’s biggest burger chain also told employees to work from home last year, when protesters calling for pay of $15 an hour and a union gathered outside its buildings.

This year, the protests began Wednesday with a strike at the Rock N Roll McDonald’s in Chicago. Organizers say thousands are expected to demonstrate at the company’s headquarters in suburban Oak Brook on Wednesday evening, and set up tents overnight until the shareholders’ meeting Thursday.

“Employees were strongly encouraged to work from home, and the majority of them are taking advantage of the opportunity,” said Lisa McComb, a McDonald’s spokeswoman.

The push for a $15 minimum wage began in 2012. Since then, the growing demonstrations have helped make hourly pay a political issue.

In the first quarter, McDonald’s reported $1.1 billion in profits on sales of $5.9 billion.

Demonstrators demanding an increase in the minimum wage protest in front of a McDonald’s restaurant on April 14. | Getty Images
Demonstrators demanding an increase in the minimum wage protest in front of a McDonald’s restaurant on April 14. | Getty Images