On Wednesday, McDonald’s announced that it would raise its employees’ hourly wage by at least $1 and offer paid vacations, but Fight for $15 protesters said that they were not pleased so they would continue protests.
McDonald’s wage raise applies only to its U.S. non-franchise stores, which account for nearly 10 percent of its U.S.-based locations. There are currently about 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants across the U.S.
The protests triggered by the Fight for $15 campaign started in 2012 as chronically underpaid fast-food workers urged restaurants to raise their hourly wage to at least $15, secure better work conditions, and allow them to form a union.
But McDonald’s announcement doesn’t seem to alleviate the tension within the company’s relationship with its workers since protesters claim that the fast-food chain needs to go further.
More protests are expected to occur by mid-April, while labor organizers plan to gather Thursday outside McDonald’s locations to protest against the company’s recent announcement.
Protesters claim that there are millions of family that live just about the poverty line due to McDonald’s stubborn refusal to raise the minimum pay to at least $15 per hour.
“We’re going to show McDonald’s this movement won’t stop until we get what we deserve,”
warned Kendall Fells, the Fight for $15 campaign’s lead organizer.
On Wednesday, McDonald’s said that the $1 raise would add to the local minimum wage. Moreover, the company was willing to offer its employees vacation benefits starting July 1.
By next year’s end, McDonald’s employees that work at company-owned restaurants are expected to earn more than $10 per hour.
The company announced that about 90,000 people will benefit from the recently-announced wage hike. But workers at locations run by franchisees, which account for 90 percent of restaurants, will not.
Nevertheless, in some cities the pay hike would not make a big difference. In Seattle, for instance, the city’s regulations set the minimum hourly wage at $11, while the state’s minimum is more than a dollar lower.
Ivar’s , a Seattle-based seafood restaurant chain, also announced a pay raise this week to $11 per hour for its employees working in its seafood bars across the state, not only in Seattle. Additionally, other major employers announced similar moves. For example, Target, Wal-Mart, and TJX promised to lift hourly pay at at least $9 by the end of this year.
McDonald’s announcement is expected to trigger similar decisions among franchisees, who may find themselves forced to also hike wages if they are directly competing with corporation-owned locations.
But such outcome could prove beneficial for McDonald’s on the long run, experts say. If they raise pay, franchisees will also have to raise prices. So, higher prices will result in higher royalty payments for the company.
Franchise owners complain that McDonald’s move would pressurize franchises that stick with the government minimum wage to raise wages accordingly and trigger more inflation.
Yet, the wage raise was a tough call for the freshly-appointed chief executive Steve Easterbrook. He was promoted last month but he has been struggling ever since to boost growth at the fast-food chain as McDonald’s has been facing sluggish sales in the U.S. and a health scandal on the Asian markets.
Image Source: Young Americans for Liberty