In February, President Obama called for a raise in the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $9 an hour. The following day, McDonald’s, Yum Brands (KFC & Taco Bell) and Burger King all saw a drop in their stocks. These companies profit off paying their employees as little as they can. If they’re forced to pay each worker an extra $1.75 an hour, they will lower their profit and generate less money for shareholders. If Obama’s proposed wage raise passes, it will hit them hard. So, how do you respond to the threat? Well, if you’re McDonald’s you hand your opponent everything they need to destroy you on a silver platter.
McDonald’s recently launched a “Practical Money Skills” website in conjunction with Visa. In addition to persuading employees to ditch their paper paychecks and switch to Visa PaychekPLUS! Elite cards, the site provides McDonald’s employees advice on how to manage their income and create a budget. Included are interactive games such as Financial Football and Countdown to Retirement, information on how to buy McDonald’s shares, handy calculators to help with home loans and retirement funds, as well as a budget journal. Included in the budget journal is a sample monthly budget of a McDonald’s employee. Here it is:
Have you taken a good look? Okay, so what’s wrong with this picture? McDonald’s is saying that if they pay their employee a net salary of $1,105 a month, he or she will need to find a secondary income of $955 in order to survive. Assuming that this person’s secondary source of income is also a minimum wage position, they would need to work roughly eighty hours a week in order to make ends meet according to the monthly expenses proposed. I really wish SNL was on the air and Seth and Amy were still around because… REALLY?!?! Really, McDonald’s? You’re fighting against the proposed minimum wage raise, but point out how impossible it is to survive on the current minimum wage? On the same website where you admit to not paying your employees enough to survive you present them with a calculator for retirement funds and encourage them to buy stock? You include a game called Countdown to Retirement on a website targeting people who are exhausted from working eighty hours a week in order to feed their families. Really? REALLY!?!?
I’m not here to make a statement about whether we should raise the minimum wage or not. I haven’t done the proper research and I’m not informed enough to make that kind of statement. However, if McDonald’s goal is to keep the minimum wage as it is, they certainly aren’t helping their cause with this sample budget. Not to mention the whole thing just feels like a slap in the face to their employees, many of which are struggling to make ends meet. The tagline to the website is, “Every day and every dollar make a difference.” Yes McDonald’s, every day and every dollar do make a difference, which is exactly why these people are fighting for that extra $1.75 an hour.
Feature Image found here.