Moral Low Ground

Economy

McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson: ‘We Will Support’ Minimum Wage Increase

woman dies in mcdonald'sThe CEO of one of the world’s largest fast-food corporations, known for paying its workers what critics claim are poverty wages, has announced his company will support a minimum wage hike.

McDonald’s chief executive officer Don Thompson recently suggested that the company would support a bill proposed by President Barack Obama that would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour, the Huffington Post reports.

“You know, our franchisees look at me when I say this and they start to worry: ‘Don, don’t you say it, don’t you say we support $10.10,'” Thompson said during a recent talk at Northwestern University in Chicago. “I will tell you, we will support legislation that moves forward.”

Although Thompson, who personally earned $9.5 million last year, claims McDonald’s pays workers more than minimum wage, the average company worker earns between $8 and $9 per hour, according to various estimates. An analysis by financial information site NerdWallet found that a McDonald’s employee working overtime for four months straight would earn as much as the company’s former CEO did in one hour.

Countering claims by conservative politicians and many business leaders that a higher minimum wage would harm business, leading to stalled hiring and even layoffs, Thompson predicted that “McDonald’s will be fine” in the event of such a raise.

“We’ll manage through whatever the additional cost implications are,” the CEO said.

In Australia, where the minimum wage is over $16 per hour, fast-food companies including McDonald’s thrive.

McDonald’s has come under fire for relying upon the government to provide public assistance to its workers to make up for the low wages it pays them. The company has also raised eyebrows and ire by advising employees to turn off the heat in their homes to save money, sell their Christmas presents, break their food into small pieces to feel full and to remember to tip their housekeepers and pool cleaners.

Fast-food workers have made headlines in recent months as they have staged a series of worldwide strikes demanding higher pay. Rallying under the banner “Fight For 15,” they are seeking a $15 hourly minimum wage. Most recently, the Seattle suburb of SeaTac implemented a $15 minimum wage, and on Monday, the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to phase in a $15 minimum wage over the next three to seven years. Other cities, most notably San Francisco, are considering similar hikes.

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