McDonald's CEO Triples His Income While Workers Fight for Higher Wages

April 16th 2016

Alex Mierjeski

In 2015, McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook raked in $7.91 million in total earnings — a 368 percent increase compared to the $1.69 million he made the previous year, documents filed on Friday show. The information was release just one day after fast food workers aligned with the "Fight for 15" movement demonstrated at McDonald's locations to demand higher wages.

Steve Easterbrook

Easterbrook, who started as CEO in March of 2015, was given a base salary of $1.3 million, a bump up from the $1.025 million he made as the fast food giant's chief brand officer. The additional pay came in the form of equity, awards, and perks, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Easterbrook's compensation included nearly $3 million in stock awards, $2.1 million in option awards, a performance-based bonus of almost $1.5 million, $341,000 in perks, $92,250 in company contributions to a profit-sharing plan, and $224,235 for extras, the Tribune reports.

Crain's Business Journal noted that Easterbrook's boost in compensation came as he introduced welcomed programs like all-day breakfast, and led the company's stock to near record highs.

While Easterbrook has been rewarded for McDonald's success, employees are still fighting for better pay.

The filings come as low-wage workers nationwide, including a large cohort from McDonald's, resort to desperate measures in their fight for better wages. Just one day before the company filings, workers staged the largest Fight for $15 demonstrations yet, with strikes in 320 cities, and protests in 40 countries.


Protesters sought to highlight how industry leaders like McDonald's don't just harm their own workers with minimum wage pay — they set the tone for low-wage work more broadly.

"McDonald’s is holding everyone back, not just fast-food workers," said Brenda Lozada, a Colorado homecare worker who participated in demonstrations this week, in a statement sent to ATTN:.

"The company influences pay, how people are treated at work and how people run businesses, both large and small. The Fight for $15 isn’t just about fast-food workers getting higher pay. It’s about workers in every industry, all over the world being held back because of McDonald’s desire to make bigger profits."

Fight for 15 strike announces minimum wage strike

Calls to raise the minimum wage have resonated with local and state officials, with plans to incrementally raise wages passing in California, New York, and Pennsylvania recently.

The issue has also enjoyed a national stage, with both Democratic presidential candidates advocating for a higher federal minimum wage. At the ninth Democratic debate on Thursday, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both said they supported raising the wage to $15 per hour.

The current federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25 since 2009.