A dozen fast food workers from New England were among the hundreds of protesters who demonstrated outside McDonald’s corporate headquarters during the company’s annual meeting on Thursday.
“I was tired of McDonald’s putting their foot on workers’ necks,” said Darius Cephas, a Dorchester resident who works in security at McDonald’s in Cambridge and attended the protest.
The protest was organized by Fight for $15, a national coalition of fast food workers run by unions and their allies who have been advocating for a $15-an-hour minimum wage and the right to unionize.
Cephas, a member of the Fight for $15’s national organizing committee, was among a group from Boston who took a 16-hour bus ride to Oak Brook, Illinois on Wednesday and camped out overnight. Movement organizers said more than a dozen workers from Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut took the bus, which was paid for and organized by Fight for $15.
Cephas, 25, said he earns $11 an hour from McDonald’s, is not in a union, and receives public assistance. He said he traveled to the protest on his own time and was inspired by the energy of other workers.
If he earned $15 an hour, Cephas said, “It would really help me take care of my family. I’d be able get my own apartment, my own car, I can make a livable wage, get off public assistance, make a life for myself.”
McDonald’s, Cephas said, “can afford it.”
Reuters reported that hundreds of protesters marched through a downpour and closed down the McDonald’s headquarters on the eve of its meeting for the third year in a row. Reuters said the protest was organized by the Service Employees International Union, an ally of the Fight for $15 movement.
The Chicago Tribune reported that workers traveled from around the country. Although several thousand people were expected, fewer than 1,500 appeared to show up due to heavy rain, the Tribune reported.