Bernie Sanders to McDonald's: 'US taxpayer is subsidizing the low pay'
Former presidential hopeful and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said in a letter to McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook that U.S. taxpayers are "subsidizing" the brand's employee pay since many workers must depend on public assistance to survive. The Hill reported that Sanders made the move after months of similar pressure on Amazon, which said this week it would raise its companywide minimum wage to $15 per hour, according to the Washington Post.
"Today McDonald's pays wages that are so low many of its workers need Food Stamps, Medicaid, and public housing to survive," The Hill quoted Sanders' letter as saying. "According to one study, the U.S. taxpayer is subsidizing the low pay at McDonald's to the tune of $1.2 billion a year. In my view that is unacceptable."
Sanders put the screws on McDonald's leadership to crank the wages up to $15 to set an example for the whole QSR industry, where many chains are known to pay at or near the U.S. minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Sanders also pushed the chain's leaders to pay more attention to its workers' efforts to unionize.
That last union-related request from Sanders is particularly well-timed since, as previously reported the National Labor Relations Board has proposed a rule change that would relieve big franchising corporations of being parties in collective bargaining. That change - which is now in the public comment period — would instead put individual franchisees in the collective bargaining hot seat.