Jeff Stratton started out working behind a McDonald's counter in Detroit nearly 40 years ago. Now he's president of McDonald's U.S.A. Not bad.
With such roots, it would seem that he would have strong relationships with workers, from those in corporate suites to the line cooks. Perhaps he does, but that certainly did not appear to be the case during a recent talk in Chicago, near where the company is headquartered in Oak Brook, Ill.
Nancy Salgado, 26, told the Real News that she was arrested last week after confronting Stratton at a meeting amid the cloistered elegance of the Union League Club and telling him she couldn't afford to buy shoes or food for her children, according to an interview and transcript at the Real News.
A cashier, she has worked for McDonald's for 10 years, and the confrontation was staged as part of the "Fight for $15," an ongoing labor battle to increase the minimum wage for fast-food workers across the nation.
"It's really hard for me to feed my two kids and struggle day to day," she shouted as Stratton was speaking, according to the transcript. "Do you think this is fair, that I have to be making $8.25 when I’ve worked for McDonald's for 10 years?"
"I've been there for 40 years," Stratton answered from the podium.
"The thing is that I need a raise," Salgado insisted. "But you're not helping your employees. How is this possible?" After that, someone approached her and informed her that she was going to be arrested.
Stratton did not have to take the bait. He could have offered to speak to her later. The company's image has taken a hit in the minimum-wage battle, even as it reported a 4 percent increase to $1.4 billion in profits last quarter.
Over the summer, the company was criticized after joining forces with Visa to help workers create budgets. The sample budget presumes that workers will have a second job. Perhaps McDonald's does not see its jobs as a full-time endeavor, but that's not the message Stratton just sent. He's worked "there for 40 years," and look where it got him.
Watch the video here:
Editor's note: The original headline referred to the McDonald's CEO, who was not involved in this incident.
Read more at the Real News.