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Friday, January 31, 2014

McDonald's Throws Its Weight Around Olympia

Posted by on Fri, Jan 31, 2014 at 5:19 PM

McDonald's was in Olympia on Monday for a restaurant day sponsored by the Washington Restaurant Association (WRA), handing out apples and literature about the economic and agricultural impact they make in the state. That isn't abnormal—lots of restaurants were there, and when I spoke to WRA President Anthony Anton he said that restaurants are encouraged to bring in literature reflecting their numbers and margins. But in light of the recent fast food walkouts, the fight to raise the minimum wage, and training wage bills being passed around Olympia, the timing is a little odd. McDonald's didn't mention any of those issues in the literature they were handing out.

I reached out to McDonald's representatives who signed a letter on behalf of the 43 franchise owners in Washington state; I spoke to their PR manager, and they have no comment (no comment on whether they were there lobbying, no comment on minimum wage laws, no comment on how raising the minimum wage would affect their bottom line). The letter outlines the great work they do to provide job opportunities and "lifelong skills to local residents" as a way to reinforce their investment in our communities (as well as how many thousands of pounds of foodstuffs they buy from Washington state suppliers), and reinforce that their presence in the state creates over 30,000 jobs, $142 million in wages. Here's what they fail to mention:

  • Fast food workers across the country have staged strikes and walkouts to protest their low wages. This not only raised our social consciousness a few clicks, but was the spark for the 15Now campaign.
  • More than half of fast-food workers rely on at least one public assistance program to support their families, and the "low wage, non-existent benefits business model" of fast food costs taxpayers almost $7 billion a year. With the largest U.S. fast-food workforce at 707,850, McDonald's contributes to $1.2 billion of that annual cost, almost twice as much as their next largest competitor. Keep in mind that McDonald's CEO Donald Thompson earns $13.7 million a year, and surely has no problem feeding his family, or, like, the entire nation of Angola.
  • What a coincidence that McDonald's was in Olympia the same week the training wage bill was discussed. Most fast food jobs are minimum wage, and you'd better believe corporations like McDonald's would greatly benefit from paying their employees even less than they do now.
  • They passed out apples on Monday, even though studies show fast food is a contributing factor to obesity and diabetes.

McDonald's has no comment about whether or not they were there to lobby wage issues, but something about their silence stinks.

(Thanks to Working Washington and SEIU for the data!)


Comments (12) RSS

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Will in Seattle 1
Would you like a guillotine with your fries?
Posted by Will in Seattle on January 31, 2014 at 5:42 PM · Report this
watchout5 2
When a corporate refuses to give a comment I always assume their answer is the worst thing imaginable. In this case, they're quite obviously bribing the fuck out of anyone who can do anything to stop Seattle from increasing their minimum wage. There's a congress person who just mentioned how they want to sponsor legislation specifically targeted at the idea of banning Seattle from being able to set its own minimum wage. That's the route they're going, even if they won't tell you, which means they're ashamed of themselves for their actions. Must really be hard going to bed on that giant pile of money that's about to be used for bribery instead of increased wages.
Posted by watchout5 on January 31, 2014 at 6:15 PM · Report this
raindrop 3
And why would you be so assuming that they would provide that information?
Posted by raindrop on January 31, 2014 at 6:16 PM · Report this
@2--They have no shame whatsoever.
Posted by TobyinFremont on January 31, 2014 at 6:33 PM · Report this
seatackled 5
Uhhhh. . . .

their presence in the state creates over 30,000 jobs, $142 million in wages

142,000,000 ÷ 30,000 = 4,733.33.
Posted by seatackled on January 31, 2014 at 9:42 PM · Report this
kazansky 6

I don't think anyone would readily expect Mcdonalds to be forthcoming with that information, but isn't transparency a noble goal, regardless of ideology? I'd think this would be the case, particularly with conservatives.

Who's the lady in the new avatar, by the way?
Posted by kazansky on February 1, 2014 at 12:54 AM · Report this
rob! 7
@6: Barbara Bush
Posted by rob! on February 1, 2014 at 6:11 AM · Report this
Clara T 8
So McDonald's taps the taxpayers for $1700 per employee. I really need to start eating my share of that subsidized poison. I'll get too fat to work and then lose my foot to diabetes, and so collect from the feds the rest of the "wage" one of their employees earns. Oh! Oh! I'll also lose the other foot and get fatty liver disease! Fun - they can make a coloring book of me to put in the happy meal.
Posted by Clara T on February 1, 2014 at 7:56 AM · Report this
I started working at McDonald's while I was in high school. I learned to work hard and the importance of team work. We had fun and I always enjoyed working with the customers. I learned sills that has helped me later in life. Thanks McDonald's and I still love your fries!
Posted by Owned by a 4 yr old on February 1, 2014 at 10:48 AM · Report this
raindrop 10
@6: That's Barbara Bush!
Posted by raindrop on February 1, 2014 at 11:41 AM · Report this
Does this remind anyone else of the Joker's poison gas filled floats in Batman (1989)?
Posted by tvirdone on February 1, 2014 at 11:50 AM · Report this
seatackled 12

Cool. Can you tell us more about the carpenter program they offered.

Oh, and congratulations on your first post under that monicker!
Posted by seatackled on February 1, 2014 at 2:21 PM · Report this

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