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McDonald’s and Its Ongoing Battles Regarding an Appropriate Minimum Wage

At present, McDonald’s hamburger outlets are still suffering from the negative publicity they’ve garnered because many of their employees (who mostly work for franchisees) believe they’re not being paid a “living wage.” While this company is certainly not alone in corporate America regarding its views on what constitutes a fair minimum wage, it may still be offending some consumers and affecting the company’s bottom line.                                                                    

This problem has become so pronounced for McDonald’s that at least one reputable news website regularly reports on this issue. However, others offer a different analysis as to what is actually causing McDonald’s problems with its profit margins.        

Alternate Views as to Why Fewer Customers May Be Visiting McDonald’s

Although a few analysts have blamed severe weather problems for adversely affecting McDonald’s recent earnings, some experts cite other factors.  CEO Don Thompson suggests that consumers who have a bit more money to spend are now more likely to visit chains that “position themselves as higher quality alternatives.”                                                                           

The corporate side of McDonald’s is also concerned about its need to “to adapt to shifting eating trends in a variety of ways, including the rollout of new prep tables in the U.S. that can hold more sauces and toppings. [The company also wants] to eventually offer greater customization on its menu while keeping orders easy to assemble for workers.”

Nevertheless, many consumers and investors still seem to be concerned about the minimum wage issue and are hoping the company will start listening more closely to its workers.

Added Concerns Voiced by Those Protesting McDonald’s Views on Minimum Wage

McDonald workers continue to hold protests every few months around the country. During one recent event, they also indicated that they want the opportunity to form a union that will help them fight for better future pay and benefits. Many of these workers are eager for lawmakers and the general public to understand that fast-food workers are not primarily teenagers just trying to make money for frivolous activities.                                                        

In fact, a very large percentage of McDonald’s (and other fast-food) restaurant workers are both single and married parents trying hard to support their children on their minimum wage incomes since they cannot land better-paying jobs. As more liberal thinkers may reasonably argue, when we refuse to pay these workers a more respectable, “living” wage, in keeping with the damaging effects of inflation, we simply wind up punishing a new generation of children – whose needs may go unmet now—but will prove very costly to society at large in the future.

Conclusions and Possible “Change of Heart” Signaled by McDonald’s CEO

Although he’s definitely not endorsing a minimum wage hike to $15 an hour which would help raise wages much closer to where they were (given inflation, transportation costs, etc.) back during the 1960s, CEO Don Thompson says he would be willing to support a higher minimum wage rate of $10.10. This is a rather odd concession, since Thompson himself was personally paid $9.5 million for his services in 2013.                                                                                  

Other companies should give considerable thought to their own positions regarding the minimum wage issue – especially now that society-at-large has stopped seriously protesting the extremely high costs tied to obtaining a college education. Otherwise, we may all be knowingly creating a permanent “underclass.”                                                                 

To obtain help with handling all of your Georgia business planning needs, please contact the Law Offices of Shane Smith today.  You can schedule your free initial consultation with a knowledgeable Peachtree City estate planning attorney by calling: (770) 487-8999.


Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia