Locals join national McDonald’s wage protests

Mcdonald's sign mcdonalds
Credit: Getty images

Two men from Philadelphia will join McDonald’s employees and their supporters at protests Thursday of the fast food burger chain’s annual shareholders meeting.

Asked what he’ll be fighting for in Chicago, the answer of McDonald’s employee Justin Watson, 29, of Logan, was simple: “15 and a union,” he said.

Joined by Pastor Larry Patrick of Redeem Baptist Church in Strawberry Mansion, Watson said while waiting in the airport for his flight to Chicago on Tuesday afternoon that McDonald’s has reduced his hours — and he had to get a second job as a dishwasher at a different restaurant just to make ends meet.

“I’m trying to set the record straight for my kids so they wont have to be in the same kind of predicament I am,” Watson said, who has worked at McDonald’s since March 2012 in a variety of positions.

Pastor Patrick, who is attending the protests in support, said that McDonald’s itself would benefit from increasing the wages of its workers.

“My message would be that in an industry that is as successful as McDonald’s, we all know that a basic business practice is happier employees make for better companies,” Patrick said. “McDonald’s can be a leader not only in fast food but a leader in how employee and employer relationships can work favorably.”

The local Fight for 15 Coalition is paying Patrick and Watson’s flight fare, and they were selected as emissaries from Philadelphia due to being available and willing to go on the trip.

McDonald’s said in April that sales fell 1.7 percent and their net income fell 5 percent. Meanwhile, employees in New York, Michigan and California have filed labor lawsuits against their employer for allegedly not paying full overtime and asking them to pay additional time off the clock.

The shareholders meeting is closed to press and the public.

Watson, who is taking time off work to attend the protests, said that with a raise, he would be happy to continue working at McDonald’s.

“I enjoy what I do, but I’m disgruntled,” Watson said. “We all know what the situation is. It’s all about the money.”

Many protesters seeking a minimum wage hike from major companies like McDonald’s have called the minimum wage pay that McDonald’s offers “poverty wages.”

Pastor Patrick said that McDonald’s barely pays its workers enough to live.

“It’s not a matter of asking for a raise,” Patrick said. “The numbers speak for themselves… You’ll find that people who are not making $10.88 an hour are actually below the poverty line.”


MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…


U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…


Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…


Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…


Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.


Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm


Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.


Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."


Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.


Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.


Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.


Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.


Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…


Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…


Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…


Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…