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Internal McDonald’s doc sparks protests against low wages September 8, 2013

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
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Fast food employees all across America took to the streets this summer to protest low wages. Many have demanded a hike in the minimum wage to as high as $15. While such an action by the U.S. Congress would be almost impossible, there is support for the idea. According to one study coming out of the University of Kansas, the average price of a Big Mac would go up only 68 cents if wages at the restaurant chain were doubled.

McDonald’s did not help itself in the face of this crisis, though, as an internal document aiming to help their minimum wage employees plan their finances was leaked to the public. The company’s document assumes some ridiculous things about its employees’ budgets, like health care costing $20 per month, rent at $600 per month, and not taking heating or A/C into account at all.

The trouble for McDonald’s and other fast food chains is that their fears of being driven to poor profits if they increase employee wages and perks don’t add up. According to countless news reports, restaurant chains are forced to pay higher wages across many parts of Europe, and while their prices are higher they do not appear to be suffering. Moreover, their employees in those parts are happier and earn far more for their families.

For more on this issue, see the following video:

Discussion Questions:

1.  Why do you think McDonald’s produced the internal document mentioned above? Why were they mistaken to do so?

2.  How should McDonald’s and other fast food companies respond to public criticism about low wages, assuming they do not plan to increase those wages?

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