Great news, everyone! McDonald's has just announced they're going to increase all minimum wage jobs to $1 over the minimum wage in every corporate-owned location. Just one problem: this supposed pay raise is going to do precisely fuck-all for the majority of McDonald's workers.
The obvious issue: 90% of all McDonald's in America are franchise-owned, and this only applies to company-owned locations. While McDonald's plan to offer English and GED classes is nice, and the vacation time is actually a fairly big deal for the employees affected by it (of everything listed, this is probably the most important thing), it doesn't mean a ton if the vast majority of McDonald's workers don't benefit from it at all. There's also the fact that $8.25 in most places isn't exactly a huge raise, but as long as the pledge is to stick to $1 over the minimum everywhere, there's always the slim chance more states and municipalities will actually pass decent minimum wage legislation.
It's important not to believe McDonald's inevitable claims that they can't do anything about franchisees' pay scales, as it's instructive to remember just how detailed a hold McDonald's has on their franchise operation and just how much money said entities make for the parent company. Don't believe anyone making the claim that corporate stores are somehow more profitable for McDonald's and can thus more easily absorb the hit; the opposite is actually true, clearly evidenced by the staggering number of franchises compared to corporate-owned stores. The claim that McDonald's can't possibly mandate how its franchisees treat their employees doesn't hold up when you consider they could easily off-set the cost by offering to reduce a portion of the onerous financial burden the franchisee is under in exchange for their promise to offer the same protections they're willing to offer their corporate-store workers. Such measures could take the form of loosening the requirements around the company's Triple Net Lease or changing the franchise rent structure (remember, McDonald's gets both a cut of the franchise's profits AND the franchise has to pay them rent, all while the company shoulders little to none of the operating costs), or even switching to the same percentage of sales profit model that every other notable fast food franchise uses (currently, it's a flat amount rather than a portion of profits).
Bottom line? This is a company that times how long it takes for franchise partners to get customers through the drive through and uses proprietary computer software to prevent workers from clocking in on time if labor costs are determined—by the parent company, again—to be too high. There's no possible way they can justify their franchisees not treating workers like human beings when they're the ones preventing them from doing so under the current system.
Image via A. Aleksandravicious/Shutterstock.
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