McDonald’s employees not exactly “loving” planned benefit and wage increases

Last week, McDonald’s announced it will increase benefits and raise wages for 1,500 employees in its company-owned stores.

Nearly 90,0000 workers will receive paid time off, educational assistance, and an additional $1 an hour over the federal minimum. These changes are slated to take effect July 1, 2015.

McDonald’s website states: “We’ve listened to our employees and learned that—in addition to increased wages—paid personal leave and financial assistance for completing their education would make a real difference in their careers and lives.”

Says McDonald’s President and CEO Steve Easterbrook, “We are acting with a renewed sense of energy and purpose to turn our business around. We know that a motivated workforce leads to better customer service so we believe this initial step not only benefits our employees, it will improve the McDonald’s restaurant experience.”

Workers at McDonald’s franchises will be eligible for educational assistance but not the wage increases or paid leave.

A living wage, not a minimum wage

Nearly two years ago, McDonald’s employee Nancy Salgado crashed a meeting at the Union League of Chicago where (now retired) McDonald’s USA President Jeff Strattan was speaking to inform him (and anyone else within earshot) that her hourly wage of $8.25 was not enough to provide for her family’s needs.

Salgado asked Strattan, “Do you think this is fair that I have to be making $8.25 when I’ve been working at McDonald’s for 10 years?”

For her troubles, Salgado and six other members of Fight for $15 were kicked out of the event.

But the battle for increased wages for fast food workers has continued, with determined employees regularly protesting around the country. In fact, several protests were held last week in response to McDonald’s announcement. Critics say the change doesn’t go nearly far enough.

“I’m loving it” … not!

CBS News quoted the Reverend W.J. Rideout III, who led the march in Detroit, as saying, “Their slogan is ‘I’m Loving It.’ We’re not loving $9 an hour. We’re not loving $8 an hour. We’re loving $15 and a union.”

Neither is Kendell Fells, an organizer for Fight for $15. According to Fells, “There’s still millions of families in poverty due to McDonald’s not raising to $15. We’re going to show McDonald’s this movement won’t stop until we get what we deserve.” Additional protests are planned for April 15.

The controversy around McDonald’s reflects a greater discord. As noted in PayScale’s 2015 Compensation Best Practices Report, employers have mixed feelings about the Fair Minimum Wage Act, which would increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. Forty (40) percent of employers are in favor of the law, 30 percent are against it, and 30 percent are unsure.

Want to ensure your compensation strategy is “lovable?” Download PayScale’s full 2015 CBPR report here.

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