“We respect the fact that they want to challenge us relative to wages,” CEO Don Thompson told investors at the company’s annual meeting today, according to Businessweek. “We pay fair and competitive wages and we provide opportunity, and we provide job opportunities and training for those entering the workforce.”
The average fast food worker in the U.S. makes around $9.08 per hour, which is above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour (though several states have minimum wages that are higher).
Protesters believe that employees at McDonald’s and its competitors should be paid closer to $15/hour, but those opposed to that idea claim it would result in higher prices and fewer jobs.
Most McDonald’s are owned by franchisees who determine how much to pay workers.
Police arrested 138 protestors on Wednesday for trespassing outside McDonald’s corporate campus, where many employees were told to work from home on the first day of the protests.