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Just a day after fast food workers announced another major strike for higher wages, McDonald’s announced that it is giving its employees a raise. But only about one more dollar per hour. And the raise only applies to 90,000 of its employees. According to the chain’s website, the company employees 1.9 million people globally. The Wall Street Journal reports that McDonald’s is only offering raises to those who work at the 1,500 locations owned by the corporation and not the nearly 13,000 locations operated by franchisees. The chain is also giving that select handful of employees vacation benefits: Those who have worked at the company for a year will be given up to five days of paid time-off each year. This will “lift the average hourly rate for [McDonald’s] U.S. restaurant employees to $9.90 on July 1 and more than $10 by the end of 2016, from $9.01 currently.”
McDonald’s has made it very clear that only those who work at the corporation-owned locations would see the benefits. The corporation has long been adamant that it is a different operation from its franchisees and therefore should be treated differently. So perhaps this move is in response to the National Labor Relations Board’s ruling that McDonald’s can be held liable for the working conditions — including low wages — at any of its restaurants, not just those solely owned by the corporation. The chain is currently in the process of fighting this “joint employer” ruling in court.
The chain has shown some serious resistance to increasing its employees’ wages in the past. Earlier this year, alongside other fast food companies, McDonald’s attempted to sue the city of Seattle over the city’s minimum wage increase to $15 per hour, claiming that it violated the Fourteenth amendment. The National Labor Relations Board also filed more than a dozen complaints against the chain for violating the rights of employees who chose to participate in strikes for higher wages. The agency accuses the chain of threatening employees who communicated with union representatives, cutting their hours, and in some cases, even firing them instead of considering giving employees a higher salary. Most incredibly, McDonald’s has long been aware that the salaries its employees are given are not enough to cover basic expenses: At one point, the chain recommended that employees get a second job to make ends meet.
As for employees of McDonald’s, Business Insider writes that they are glad that change is happening, but that it is still not enough. McDonald’s worker Kwanza Brooks says in a statement, “This is too little to make a real difference, and covers only a fraction of workers. It’s a weak move for a company that made $5.6 billion in profits last year.” Fast food workers are set to protest across the globe on April 15.