In the midst of a deluge, protesters in disposable ponchos stood outside McDonald’s gleaming new headquarters in the West Loop Monday morning and booed.
“I put in leg work day in and day out so that they can sit in this building … so that they can send their children to the best schools, so they never have to worry at night!” shouted Mary Hood, a protester and manager at a McDonald’s restaurant in the city.
Protests outside McDonald’s by the “Fight for $15” movement in favor of a higher minimum wage have been going on for years.
But this was the first outside the new nine-story headquarters, previously the site of Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios.
Dozens of chanting marchers moved along the sidewalk outside the new building, 1035 W. Randolph St.
“McDonald’s, McDonald’s, you can’t hide! We can see your greedy side!” they chanted as they passed the McDonald’s restaurant and also crowded outside the employee entrance.
Workers getting off an employee shuttle hustled past them and squeezed into the door.
A spokeswoman for McDonald’s said the corporation helps its employees better themselves in a number of ways.
“Our commitment to the communities we serve includes providing opportunities for restaurant employees to succeed at McDonald’s and beyond with world-class training and education programs to help them build the skills needed for today’s workforce. Recently we announced we are tripling tuition assistance for restaurant employees by allocating $150 million over five years to our Archways to Opportunity education program which provides eligible U.S. employees an opportunity receive upfront college tuition assistance, earn a high school diploma, and access free education advising services and learn English as a second language. We also lowered eligibility requirements, making the program more accessible. These enhancements underscore McDonald’s and its independent franchisees’ commitment to providing jobs that fit around the lives of restaurant employees so they may pursue their education and career ambitions.” said the spokeswoman, Terri Hickey, in a statement.
The protesters planned to head to Springfield later in the day.