McDonald's ends its fight against minimum wage hikes
McDonald's is ending its efforts to lobby against raising the minimum wage.
In a major reversal, the fast-food giant told the National Restaurant Association that it will no longer participate in lobby efforts against the hikes at federal, state and local levels. Politico was first to report the news.
A spokesperson for the burger giant later confirmed the move to FOX Business.
In a letter to the restaurant association, Genna Gent, McDonald's vice president of government relations, wrote that the company now believes the "increases should be phased in and that all industries should be treated the same way."
"The conversation about wages is an important one; it's one we wish to advance, not impede," she added, noting that going forward, McDonald's will not use any resources, including lobbyists or staff, to derail the increases from advancing.
The shift from the burger chain, who previously opposed the hikes, also comes after the U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Tom Donohue told reporters earlier this year that they would be willing to negotiate raising the hourly wage, which has been stuck at $7.25 for more than a decade.
2020 presidential hopeful and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has also been very vocal about McDonald's raising their minimum over the last year.
Last October, Sanders tweeted, "If Amazon and Disney can pay $15 an hour, so can McDonald's, which made $5.1 billion in profits last year."
The tweet was accompanied by a letter to McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook urging him to make the changes.
"My message to McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook: No one in America, especially those working for a profitable corporation like McDonald's, should be living in proverty."
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However, President Trump and his top economic adviser Larry Kudlow have opposed lifting the minimum wage.
“My view is a federal minimum wage is a terrible idea. A terrible idea,” Kudlow said during a Washington Post Live event last November, adding that raising it would “damage” small businesses by forcing them to face higher payroll costs.
However, unions backing the Fight for $15 were excited by McDonald's reversal.
By sticking together and taking action on the job, courageous workers in the Fight for $15 and a Union have forced McDonald’s — the second-biggest employer in the world — to drop its relentless opposition to higher pay," Mary Kay Henry, CEO of Service Employees International Union said in a written statement.
"Now, McDonald’s needs to use its profits and power to give thousands of cooks and cashiers across the country a real shot at the middle class by raising pay to $15 an hour and respecting its workers’ right to a union."
McDonald's decision also comes as it remains embroiled in a suit over alleged labor violations by some of its franchisees for allegedly punishing some of their employees for taking part in protests to raise the minimum wage, according to Politico.