McDonald's Investor: Shania Twain Never Would Have Been a Star if we Paid $15 an Hour

May 21st 2015

Laura Donovan

McDonald's workers gathered around the corporation's Oak Brook, Ill., headquarters on Thursday to protest outside the company's annual shareholder meeting. As a huge crowd stood outside, its request for higher wages was a topic of debate inside the meeting.

According to Buzzfeed, a McDonald's investor said that if McDonald's paid higher wages, the now-famous celebrities who started their careers at McDonald's would still be working at McDonald's.

“I’m sure if they were making $15 an hour, they’d still be working at McDonald’s,” the investor said at the meeting, referring to Sharon Stone, Shania Twain, Jay Leno, and Jeff Bezos, per Buzzfeed. “[McDonald's] is a stepping-stone for people to have a first job.”

McDonald's Shareholder Meeting Prorest

He also suggested that mandated higher wages would force McDonald's to turn to robots in lieu of paying workers.

On Wednesday, thousands of workers took to the streets outside McDonald's headquarters, which was shut down as a result, to lobby for a higher minimum wage and union rights.

McDonald's Shareholder Meeting Protest

Los Angeles McDonald's worker Anggie Godoy, who spoke with ATTN: on Wednesday about protesting on the ground in Illinois, helped deliver the Fight for $15's 1.4 million-signature petition for higher pay:

Godoy, who has been working as a cashier for a year, told ATTN: yesterday that she traveled from Southern California to suburban Chicago because $15 an hour would have a significantly positive impact on her life. Though she'd love to study political science in college, it's unrealistic on her $9/hour wages, which go toward supporting her family.

"It's so hard for me to even think about going to college because I'm struggling to help my mom support my two other siblings and I struggle to pay my bills," Godoy told ATTN: on Wednesday. "So I have to put my college dreams on hold because I can't afford it ... With [$15 an hour], I think I'd be able to save up to go to college."

Wednesday and Thursday's protests were set up by Fight for 15, which also organized the largest-ever strike to hit the fast-food industry last month. On April 15, 236 cities worldwide participated in Fight for $15's walkout and demonstrations. ATTN: went to the Los Angeles rally along with 1,000 other attendees and met Jibri Range, a 22-year-old father who has been working at McDonald's since February 2014. He told ATTN: on April 15 that his earnings are difficult to live off in expensive Southern California.

"It's been all hard work, and I feel like I have to walk on pins and needles just to prove to them that I'm worth [higher wages]," Range told ATTN: at the rally. "They say that I'm lazy. We're really going to be heard today, [and] now is the time when they're really going to pay attention to us."

Tweets and photos from Oak Brook show policemen guarding McDonald's HQ from demonstrators:

The shareholder meeting comes shortly after McDonald's announced a restructuring plan that will move 36,000 company-owned stores to franchisees. In the wake of falling sales and stocks, McDonald's hopes the changes will save the corporation $300 million annually.

“No business or brand has the divine right to succeed,” CEO Steve Easterbrook said at the time. “The reality is, our recent performance has been poor. The numbers don’t lie ... It is customers that decide if we succeed. The message is clear. We are not on our game."

At the beginning of April, McDonald's said it would raise pay at company-owned stores to at least a dollar higher than the local minimum wage, boosting the company's average wage from $9 an hour to $9.90 an hour for 90,000 American workers. ;

But Christine Owens, Executive Director of the National Employment Law Project, said the increase wasn't much progress after all, as McDonald's workers who work for franchisees are not eligible for the bump.

"McDonald’s action falls far short of what is needed to make sure fast food jobs provide a decent living for the men and women who work in them," Owens said in a statement. "It leaves out hundreds of thousands of McDonald’s workers at franchises, most of whom are adults and many of whom are trying to support families on poverty wages and inadequate hours."