00:52 GMT07 June 2020
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    The annual McDonald’s shareholder meeting is set to take place in Chicago on Thursday, and a former CEO of the company has issued a warning to thousands of low-wage workers planning a protest: lay off seeking a living wage or you will be replaced by robots.

    Ed Rensi, former CEO of McDonald’s US, told Fox News that it is cheaper to buy a robotic arm than to pay an “inefficient” person to “bag french fries.”

    “I was at the National Restaurant Show yesterday and if you look at the robotic devices that are coming into the restaurant industry – it’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who is inefficient making $15 an hour bagging french fries,” Rensi said.

    Rensi asserted that a win by the unions and groups organizing the nationwide movement to “Fight For 15” would lead to job loss in areas where the cost of living is lower. He did concede however, that wages might need to be higher in New York City.

    “I don’t think we ought to have a federal minimum wage. The states ought to decide what the minimum wage is based on the cost of living in the states they are in. You don’t need a $15 minimum wage in communities that have a standard of living which is substantially lower than in New York City,” he said. “OK, maybe the wage ought to be higher in New York."

    McDonald’s sales have been declining steadily for years, but rose 5.4% after introducing all-day breakfast products.

    “We’ve been working hard to make new changes like the all-day breakfast a success and have helped make the company billions, but our wages haven’t budged. How much longer will McDonald’s workers have to wait before the company’s success benefits us too?” George McCray, who works at McDonald’s in Chicago, Illinois, and earns the local minimum wage of $8.25 an hour, told the Guardian.

    Over 10,000 people are expected to protest the shareholder meeting.

    Chief executive officers of large American corporations make an average of 335 times more than those they employ.


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