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McDonald's shareholders on Thursday overwhelmingly approved an advisory measure on executive pay at the fast-food chain, where CEO Don Thompson took home total compensation of $9.5 million in 2013.
Nearly 94 percent of shares were voted in favor of the measure, the company said at its annual meeting in Oak Brook, Illinois. With their non-binding vote, shareholders approved how much compensation McDonald's executives received as well as the formulas used to calculate that pay.
The vote came as the chain wrestles with market share losses to U.S. rivals, profit-squeezing spikes in beef costs, criticism from some parents and public health experts over its food and advertising, and noisy protests over the low pay of hourly workers.
Police on Wednesday arrested more than 100 demonstrators seeking better pay for McDonald's workers as protesters swarmed the fast-food chain's corporate campus near Chicago to demand a minimum wage of $15 an hour and the right to unionize.
Thompson sought to address a growing chorus of critics on issues including worker pay, marketing to children and animal rights at its shareholders meeting Thursday.
Thompson stressed that the company has a heritage of providing job opportunities and wasn't predatory or focused on marketing to children.
"We are people. We do have values at McDonald's. We are parents," Thompson said.
A day earlier, McDonald's closed one of its buildings in Oak Brook, Illinois, where hundreds of protesters had planned to demonstrate over the low wages paid to its workers.
Protesters targeted another site on the company's headquarters in suburban Chicago, and more than 138 were arrested for refusing to leave the property.
The protesters were out again before the meeting Thursday, chanting "I want, I want, I want my $15."
The McDonald's meeting is a frequent target because of the company's high profile.
--AP contributed to this report.