"We're not allowed to give any kind of interviews today," Duke said.
Duke distributed a statement from Lisa McComb, a national spokesperson for McDonald's USA.
"McDonald's and our owner-operators are committed to providing our employees with opportunities to succeed. We offer employees advancement opportunities, competitive pay and benefits. And we invest in training and professional development that helps them learn practical and transferable business skills.
"We also respect the right to voice an opinion. To right-size the headlines, however, the events taking place are not strikes. Outside groups are traveling to McDonald's and other outlets to stage rallies. Our restaurants remain open today - and every day - thanks to our dedicated employees serving our customers," McComb stated.
Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., senior Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee, has introduced the Fair Minimum Wage Act to raise the national minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2016 and increase it according to the rate of inflation in future years.
On Thursday, Miller said, "The American people get it. A recent national poll found that, by a ratio of four to one, Americans support raising the minimum wage. This support cuts across all political affiliations and regions of the country.
"I stand shoulder to shoulder with the workers protesting today," Miller said. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, is the lead sponsor of the bill in the Senate.
Jim Hightower -- who publishes the monthly "Hightower Lowdown" -- based in Texas, recently wrote that McDonald's workers get public subsidies totaling $1.2 billion a year.
Benefits collected by those poorly paid workers include: food stamps, Medicaid, child welfare payments and public housing.
Last year, Hightower added, McDonald's made $5.6 billion in profits and more than tripled the annual pay of its new CEO, from $4.1 million to $13.8 million a year.
Hightower's writing is available at: www.hightowerlowdown.org.Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.