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Workers Swarm McDonald's HQ In 'Fight For $15' Rally

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Hundreds of low-wage workers from across the country marched outside McDonald's headquarters on Thursday, demanding a $15-an-hour wage, as shareholders held their annual meeting in Oak Brook.

The activists, many of them McDonald's employees, claimed to represent 300 cities and 20 countries. Demonstrators also included health care workers, airport workers, and others fighting for a $15 minimum wage.

"It's not just fast food. McJobs are costing us all. If you make less than $15 an hour, you work at a McJob, sorry to tell you," said one protester.

Black, brown, white, young, and old; workers marched through the sprawling McDonald's campus, seeking to get the attention of shareholders.

Twenty-four busloads of protesters walked down Jorie Boulevard in Oak Brook to the gatehouse of the McDonald's corporate campus.

"Yes sir, we're fired, up, and we're not taking no more. We're fed up with all this. We're fed up with not being able to feed our kids. And this is something that's giving a lot of workers hope. And this is something that's changing lives. And if we get $15, that's going be a life-changing thing," one worker said.


McDonald's told employees at its Oak Brook offices to work from home Thursday, due to the large demonstration. Approximately 300 police officers stood by during the rally, in case anything went wrong.

KFC worker Anthony Kemp said he marched in solidarity with his fellow fast food workers.

"We work very hard for our families to provide for ourselves and our families, and right now this living wage just isn't cutting the mustard," he said.

Supporter Eiden Spilker said he is working a minimum wage job for the first time in his life.

"I have realized that I can't sustain a lifestyle on this," he said.

Gail Rogers came all the way from Florida to march in the rally and said she was enjoying herself, "because it's for a good reason; something that will help me in the long run."

"I know, not just believe, I know we are going to get to $15," she said.

More than 100 demonstrators spent the night before the march camped out in a tent city outside McDonald's headquarters. The tent city and overnight campout was intended as a physical display of McDonald's workers' dismay as shareholders gather for their annual meeting.

The upset employees also want the public to know they feel they aren't getting a fair wage.

"Everyone here has such a great energy. No matter how the rain and everything, no matter what, our energy is strong, and we're going to keep doing it until we are heard and seen," McDonald's worker Andrea Meadors said.

Thursday's rally followed a huge demonstration in downtown Chicago on Wednesday, after thousands of employees walked off the job and onto the strike line. They disrupted the lunch hour at the Rock N Roll McDonald's in the River North neighborhood.

The workers said their current $10-an-hour pay doesn't cut it in Chicago.

Meantime, the CEO of McDonald's has hinted at cutting costs by replacing many employees with robots.

Workers said that won't stop them from demanding higher wages.

"They can't make your day like I do for my customers that come to my store every morning. So, I'm not scared or frightened by robots. That doesn't intimidate me," Angel Mitchell said.

Even so, McDonald's workers also have demanded union rights to protect their jobs in the wake of technology advances.

McDonald's has said it raised wages last July to $1 more than the local minimum wage at all company-owned restaurants, and gave those staffers the chance to earn paid time off. Workers have said that's not enough.

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