Earlier this week, protesters from as far as New York City descended upon the Oak Brook headquarters of McDonald’s pushing for increases in the wages for front-line workers. This protest is the latest in an ongoing push among fast-food workers toward raising the minimum wage and the quality of life for employees in the nation’s restaurants.
According to reports, organizers were expecting a turnout of more than 5,000 participants, many of whom currently work for the fast-food giant. Oak Brook police estimated that about 2,000 people participated in Wednesday’s demonstration that was held one day before the company’s annual shareholder meeting. A similar protest was held last year about the same time, which led to the arrest of more than 135 people for trespassing.
While McDonald’s has come under fire in recent years for its low wages and, in some cases, poor working conditions, the company has acknowledged the need for some change. New chief executive Steve Easterbrook announced last month that company-owned locations would set starting pay at $1 above local minimum wage standards beginning July 1st, 2015. By the end of next year, the company projects the average hourly rate to exceed $10 per hour.
However, such changes will only affect approximately 90,000 employees working in corporately-controlled restaurants, currently numbering about 1,500 stores. More than 650,000 workers in more than 12,000 franchised locations would not see such benefits unless the respective franchisees follow the company’s lead.
Currently in Illinois, the minimum wage exceeds the federally-mandated minimum, requiring all non-tipped employees to be paid $8.25 per hour. As in many states, efforts are underway within the legislature to raise the minimum wage, with limited success as of yet. The city of Chicago has already approved a measure set to raise the minimum wage within the city to $10 per hour beginning on July 1, 2015, with plans to take it as high as $13 per hour in the next several years.
If you own a business in Illinois, compliance with minimum wage laws is vital to your company’s continued success. For more information about remaining compliant with changing requirements, contact an experienced employment law attorney in Schaumberg today. Let us help you protect your company’s interest, both now and in the future.