Amid a storm of controversy and protests, McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson has reversed his stance on President Obama’s proposed minimum wage hike. Studies show that McDonald’s employees currently make around $9 an hour. Thompson is paid $9.5 million a year.
Thompson made this announcement in a speech he gave at Northwestern University. Thompson said that the McDonald’s franchisees were very concerned that he supported the minimum wage hike. Thompson said that the company will support whatever legislation is proposed and passed, and the company will survive. The country’s minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. The highest minimum wage in the country is found in Seattle, which has a $15 an hour minimum wage. Judging for inflation, however, the minimum wage should really be $22 an hour.
McDonald’s has come under fire recently for its pay practices. A 25-year veteran can make as little as nine dollars an hour. In May, protestors gathered outside the fast food chain’s corporate headquarters in Chicago. More than 100 were taken into custody by police. The employees are looking for a wage increase up to a minimum of $15 an hour, which McDonald’s higher ups say is impossible. This is not the first protest McDonald’s has faced, and they continue to escalate.
McDonald’s executive’s relationship with its employees has been tense for a while. Last year it was discovered that the fast food behemoth has a financial advice site for employees, with recommendations like getting another job and keeping the heat off at home. CEO Don Thompson makes in one hour what it would take most McDonald’s employees two months to make.
Even though the McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson has publicly reversed his stance on the minimum wage hike, it may not change the prevailing attitudes towards paying their employees that fast food companies seem to have. Thompson’s statements put much of the blame on McDonald’s franchise owners, saying they are the ones who do not want a minimum wage hike. Other statements also place blame on President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. However, in a counterpoint to McDonald’s stance, Chipotle shareholders recently voted against a wage increase for their CEO’s. The shareholders saw no reason for such an increase.
The president of the Service Employees International Union, Mary Kay Henry, says that McDonald’s is pretending it can’t afford to pay its employees enough. Though sales are slow for the chain, studies show that increased profits for low paid workers could probably end up benefiting McDonald’s. The more money people have, the study says, the more they are willing to spend on impulse purchases like McDonald’s. In fact, Don Thompson was recently reported as complaining the people no longer had enough money to spend at McDonald’s, a problem that could presumably be solved by paying his employees more.
McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson has reversed his stance on President Obama’s minimum wage hike to $10.10 an hour. While the company has made no moves to increase its wages yet, it has said that it will support any legislation that is proposed. While McDonald’s does pay over the national minimum, its employees are still seeking an increase.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Chipotle voted not to increase its minimum wage. In fact, Chipotle voted not to increase its CEOs pay rate. The author and Guardian Liberty Voice regret the error.
By Bryan Levy