The American labor market is slowly but surely making progress in the right direction – and McDonald’s is hoping on the train of rising salaries. The giant food chain announced a raise in hourly wages for its almost 90,000 U.S. employees.
The company has decided that, starting July 1st, all of its employees – regardless of experience and rank – will receive $1 an hour more than whatever the local minimum wage is, and adding some extra benefits. The current average hourly rate of $9.10 will be improved to $9.90, with a high expectation that the end of 2016 will bring $10 an hour for the employees.
According to McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook, the pay raise was the result of surveys among the workers, and part of the company’s target to reform its business model. In a statement, Easterbrook explained that this measure brings benefits not only to its employees, but also to the restaurant’s customers, as they aim to improve customer service by creating a motivated workforce.
The downside of this pay raise is that it only applies to employees from 1,500 McDonald’s restaurants, a mere 10 percent of its total 14,350 U.S. stores. The wage increase does not reach the majority of McDonald’s workforce, which is made up of workers at franchise-owned branches.
However, there are still approximately 750,000 McDonald’s franchise-owned workers who are happy about the hourly rate increase, as they will still be up for benefits and perks. The company added an annual paid five-day time off to the package and full cost support for employees who need to take up classes in order to get a high school diploma.
McDonald’s spokesperson said that college credits and tuition assistance will be available to all employees who need them, as well as offering free English classes for non-English speaking workers.
The package of pay raise and extra benefits at McDonald’s seems to follow a pattern, as other U.S. retail giants like Wal-Mart and T.J. Maxx have already made their moves. This trend has sparked a new national debate over income inequality, putting a lot of pressure of chain companies to make some much-needed changes.
There are still some labor organizers who very clearly voiced their discontent with McDonald’s meager pay raise, because they say it’s far from enough and it barely makes a change in the wages of a fraction of workers. Criticism against the poor wage conditions provided by McDonald’s and other fast-food chains is not news, but labor organizers have taken it to a new level by launching the “Fight for $15”.
Protests are expected this month, with disgruntled demonstrators in front of various McDonald’s stores, criticizing their pitiful pay increase.
Image Source: Voices Sun Times