McDonald’s workers in 15 US cities plan to strike for higher wages on May 19, the day before the company’s annual shareholders meeting. They want the fast food giant to pay all its employees at least $15 per hour.
Workers will be walking off the job in Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento, Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Chicago, Detroit, Kansas City, St Louis, Houston, Milwaukee and other cities.
“There’s no reason for McDonald’s to be dragging their feet about raising all of our wages to $15 an hour. They made nearly $5 billion in profits last year. They’ll be fine, we’re struggling,”stated a May 9 post by the group on Twitter.
At the current federal minimum wage of $7.25, the annual salary of a full-time McDonald’s worker is $13,920, before taxes, though some states set a higher wage.
The federal minimum wage is not enough to afford a two bedroom apartment anywhere in the country nor a one bedroom apartment in 95% of U.S. counties, according to National Low Income Housing Coalition. If the minimum wage kept up with inflation, it would be $24/hour, but it has not been raised in over a decade.
McDonald’s employees have been organizing for a $15 an hour minimum wage and union rights since 2012, when the Fight for $15 movement was launched.
The upcoming strike comes amid a major national labor shortage in the restaurant industry. The shortage has meant that McDonald’s locations across the country have had to come up with creative ways to attract new employees. One location in Fayetteville, North Carolina has reportedly offered $500 sign-on bonuses for new hires and the owner of 60 McDonald’s franchises in Florida tried to entice prospective workers with $50 payments just for showing up to the job interview.
Members of the Fight For $15 movement say there is an easy fix to McDonald’s hiring troubles and that is to simply pay hourly workers a livable wage. Their message to shareholders is that they don’t have to wait on legislation, they can pay employees more now due to higher demand for fast food, booming sales and the billions of dollars in profit made by the fast food giant in 2020.
“Our first responsibility is to hardworking restaurant crew, and we respect and appreciate their dedication to serve millions of customers daily,” McDonald’s USA said in a statement according to Vice. “It’s the responsibility of federal and local government to set minimum wage, and we’re open to dialogue so that any changes meet the needs of thousands of hardworking restaurant employees and the 2,000 McDonald’s independent owner/operators who run small businesses.”
On May 19, workers on strike will also demand that McDonald’s withdraw its membership from the National Restaurant Association (NRA) and the International Franchise Association (IRA), which have reportedly spent more than $3.2 million lobbying Congress against the federal minimum wage increase since 2019, according to federal lobbying reports.