Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

McDonald's will ban journalists from attending its annual shareholder meeting, where Fight for $15 demonstrations are expected to occur. (Photo: Mark Dixon/flickr/cc)

Amid Protest Plans, McDonald's to Ban Media from Shareholder Meeting

Fight for $15 workers plan to call on the fast food giant to lift employee wages and end discriminatory treatment

Nadia Prupis

With thousands of workers planning to descend on McDonald's annual shareholder meeting on May 21 to demand higher wages and fairer treatment, the fast food giant has announced it will ban all media from the corporate event—a move that union leaders called "extremely shocking and troubling."

"We can't think of a single other company who has dared to ban the press from an annual meeting," the AFL-CIO told the Guardian on Monday. "What does the company have to hide?"

"We call on McDonald’s to reverse their decision and allow the media," Vineeta Anand, the AFL-CIO chief investment research analyst, told the Guardian. "Sunshine is the best disinfectant, when you shine a light on a company it changes their behaviour. They are acting like some sort of secret society."

"McDonald's is not an insignificant company, they are one of the nation's best-known household names and it is extremely shocking and troubling that a company of its size would ban the press," Anand added.

Reporters will only be able to watch the event via livestream. The company has previously banned media from its shareholder meetings, but this year's decision is unusual because it was ordered by McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook, who has previously said he wants to reshape the corporation into a "modern, progressive burger company."

A McDonald's spokesperson, Heidi Baker, said the move was not done as a response to the upcoming Fight for $15 demonstrations, but to "accommodate our valued shareholders."

Yet when contacted for comment, many of those shareholders responded to that excuse with a resounding, "Thanks, but no thanks."

Timothy Smith, director of governance and shareholder engagement at Walden Asset Management, which holds $21m of McDonald’s shares, told the Guardian, "Since McDonald’s proudly declares it believes it must be accountable to consumers, employees and the public as well as shareholders, it is surprising that they wish to hold their annual meeting in secret without press allowed to observe."

As Common Dreams has previously reported, workers have planned for weeks to converge at the shareholder meeting and call on McDonald's to reform its exploitative policies.

"We may not have a seat in the room, but we're sure that McDonald's will hear us when we say that its turnaround needs to include investment in and respect for its employees," Adriana Alvarez, who has worked at McDonald's for five years and was one of 101 workers arrested at a peaceful sit-in at last year's shareholder meeting, said earlier this month.

Rev. Dwayne Grant, pastor at Greater Englewood United Methodist Church in Chicago, added, "We need to put an end to corporations raking in billions while their employees are forced to skip meals. We are fighting to build a country where people who work hard are paid enough to survive."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Protesting Fuel Poverty, People Tell UK Government to 'Keep Everyone Warm This Winter'

As energy bills—and fossil fuel profits—continue to soar, demonstrators around Britain demanded immediate action from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and members of Parliament.

Kenny Stancil ·

'Turn Off the Tap on Plastic,' UN Chief Declares Amid Debate Over New Global Treaty

"Plastics are fossil fuels in another form," said U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, "and pose a serious threat to human rights, the climate, and biodiversity."

Kenny Stancil ·

EPA Urged to 'Finish the Job' After Latest Move to Protect Bristol Bay From Pebble Mine

"Local residents, scientists, and the broader public all agree that this is quite simply a bad place for a mine, and it is past time for the EPA to take Pebble off the table permanently," said one activist in Alaska.

Jessica Corbett ·

'Zero Tolerance for Corruption': Grijalva, Porter Demand Answers on Alleged Trump Pardon Bribery Scheme

The Democrats believe a real estate developer donated to a Trump-aligned super PAC in exchange for the pardons of two other men.

Julia Conley ·

Millions of Americans Lack Adequate Health Coverage, But the Pentagon Has a New Nuclear Bomber to Flaunt

"This ominous death machine, with its price tag of $750 million a pop, brings huge profits to Northrop Grumman but takes our society one more step down the road of spiritual death," peace activist Medea Benjamin said of the new B-21 Raider.

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo