McDonald's CEO: Fast food leads to 'real careers' - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

McDonald's CEO: Fast food leads to 'real careers'

By CANDICE CHOI and TAMMY WEBBER

Associated Press OAK BROOK, Ill. (AP) - McDonald's CEO Don Thompson sought to address a growing chorus of critics on issues including worker pay and marketing to children at its annual meeting Thursday.

As hundreds of protesters chanted for higher wages outside, Thompson told the audience in the building that the company has a heritage of providing job opportunities that lead to "real careers."

"We believe we pay fair and competitive wages," Thompson said.

A day earlier, McDonald's closed one of its buildings in Oak Brook, Illinois, where protesters had planned to demonstrate over the low wages paid to its workers. Organizers then targeted another site on the company's headquarters in suburban Chicago, and police say 138 were arrested for refusing to leave the property.

As in years past, McDonald's marketing to tactics to children was also brought up by speakers. One mother from Lexington, Kentucky, Casey Hinds, said Ronald McDonald was "the Joe Camel of fast food."

Thompson said McDonald's wasn't predatory and that Ronald McDonald was about letting kids have fun. He noted that his children ate the chain's food and turned out "quite healthy," with his daughter even becoming a track star.

"We are people. We do have values at McDonald's. We are parents," he said.

Although many fast-food chains engage in similar practices, McDonald's Corp. is a frequent target for critics because of its high profile. The criticism is becoming a more pressing issue for the world's biggest hamburger chain at a time when it is fighting to boost weak sales amid heightened competition.

Part of the problem is that people are shifting toward foods they feel are fresher or healthier, which has prompted McDonald's executives in recent months to repeatedly underscore the quality of the chain's ingredients.

Thompson struck on those notes again Thursday, saying the company cracks eggs and uses fresh vegetables to make its food.

Still, the issue of worker pay in particular has put McDonald's in an uncomfortable spotlight since late 2012, when protests for a $15 an hour wage began in New York City. Demonstrators were out again Thursday morning before the meeting, chanting, "I want, I want, I want my $15."

Shawn Dalton traveled from Pittsburgh, and said her daughter is a recent high school graduate who can't afford to go to college right away, so she'll likely wind up earning Pennsylvania's $7.25-an-hour minimum wage.

"That won't get her an apartment, that won't buy a bus pass, that won't buy food," said Dalton, 59. "She'll either have to depend on welfare or depend on me."

Shareholder meetings offer a rare opportunity for average investors to face top executives at publicly traded companies. Public pension funds and activist groups often show up in hopes of influencing a change in corporate practices.

More trivial matters can also come up during the questions-and-comments period as well. On Thursday, for instance, one speaker asked Thompson why McDonald's didn't serve biscuits and gravy for breakfast in all its markets.

An executive noted that tastes and demand varies by region.

___

AP Business Writer Candice Choi contributed from New York.

Follow Candice Choi at www.twitter.com/candicechoi

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • Mental state of Michael Bever still in question weeks before his trial begins

    Mental state of Michael Bever still in question weeks before his trial begins

    Monday, May 22 2017 1:17 PM EDT2017-05-22 17:17:17 GMT

    The trial for Michael Bever begins June 5th and both sides are still working out the details related to his mental state. Michael Bever is charged with five counts of first-degree murder and one count of assault and battery with intent to kill. Michael Bever’s attorney says he is not guilty by reason of insanity and they have a doctor’s report that supports his case. Prosecutors would like Bever to undergo an evaluation by a state expert.

    The trial for Michael Bever begins June 5th and both sides are still working out the details related to his mental state. Michael Bever is charged with five counts of first-degree murder and one count of assault and battery with intent to kill. Michael Bever’s attorney says he is not guilty by reason of insanity and they have a doctor’s report that supports his case. Prosecutors would like Bever to undergo an evaluation by a state expert.

  • Trump says he didn't mention Israel in meeting with Russians

    Trump says he didn't mention Israel in meeting with Russians

    Monday, May 22 2017 1:15 PM EDT2017-05-22 17:15:33 GMT
    Monday, May 22 2017 1:15 PM EDT2017-05-22 17:15:33 GMT

    President Donald Trump is set to visit Israel on a two-day trip, his agenda marked by elusive pursuit of peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

    President Donald Trump is set to visit Israel on a two-day trip, his agenda marked by elusive pursuit of peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

  • Race, gender, fame questions loom as Cosby jurors sought

    Race, gender, fame questions loom as Cosby jurors sought

    Monday, May 22 2017 1:14 PM EDT2017-05-22 17:14:46 GMT
    Monday, May 22 2017 1:14 PM EDT2017-05-22 17:14:46 GMT

    Lawyers in Bill Cosby's sex assault case this week hope to find a dozen jurors and six alternates willing to be sequestered nearly 300 miles from home.

    Lawyers in Bill Cosby's sex assault case this week hope to find a dozen jurors and six alternates willing to be sequestered nearly 300 miles from home.

Powered by Frankly