Dozens arrested in fast food workers protest outside McDonald's - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Dozens arrested in fast food workers protest outside McDonald's HQ

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside of McDonald's corporate headquarters in Illinois on Wednesday. (Source: WLS/CNN) Hundreds of protesters gathered outside of McDonald's corporate headquarters in Illinois on Wednesday. (Source: WLS/CNN)

OAK PARK, IL (RNN) - More than 100 people were arrested for trespassing at a rally outside McDonald's headquarters Wednesday, according to WLS. The protest, which drew more than 1,000 people, including about 325 McDonald's workers in uniform, was a continuation of demonstrations earlier this week for better wages.

"I'm here fighting for $15 an a union, so that my path does not become my children's future." Melinda Topel, a 43-year-old McDonald's store employee told Bloomberg.

Employees of fast food restaurants, and groups supporting them, have held multiple protests in recent months in an effort to raise their wage to $15 an hour. The job usually pays minimum wage ($7.25) or slightly above it.

"Nothing more inspiring than seeing workers stand together to fight for better future for their fams," tweeted Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union.

They also seek the right to unionize without fear of retaliation.

Kendal Fells of the activist group Fast Food Forward told USA Today it would be "the largest labor protest that McDonald's has ever faced."

Riot police could be seen standing nearby the ralliers, but most arrests were peaceful.

"We respect everyone's rights to peacefully protest," said McDonald's spokeswoman Heidi Barker Sa Shekhem to USA Today. "We are focused on welcoming our shareholders to McDonald's annual meeting."

The gatherings outside the headquarters are expected to carry on through Thursday, when the corporation's annual shareholders meeting is scheduled.

The more than 3 million fast-food and counter workers in the U.S. earn a median hourly wage of $8.81, or $18,330 per year based on a 40-hour work week without vacation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Income inequality has become an issue brought up on the federal level as well. In April, a bill stalled in the U.S. Senate calling for a raise of the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour.

Democratic senators pledged to bring the issue up for vote again this year before November elections. Twenty-one states and Washington, DC, have minimum wages higher than the federal minimum wage.

Copyright 2014 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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