Maybe the McDonald’s “W” Should Stand for “Wage Gap”

By Evan Henerson

So on Thursday, for the first time in company history, McDonald’s inverted the iconic “M” on several of its restaurants in recognition of – and in partnership with – International Women’s Day. “W” for “Women, get it? 

In an explanatory and largely self-congratulating statement by the company’s Global Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President of Global Community Engagement (whew!), Wendy Lewis noted the high percentage of McDonald’s employees who were female (62%), the fact that six out of 10 managers are women and the company has “one of the largest supplier diversity programs designed to support [its] global operations.

“Now more than ever McDonald’s commitment to gender and ethnic equality and advancement serves as our legacy and galvanizes our responsibility,” Lewis continued. “From restaurant crew and management to our C-suite of senior leadership, Women play invaluable roles at all levels and together with our independent franchise owners we’re committed to their success.”

Sounds good, right? Behemoth employer fighting the good fight on behalf of the disenfranchised.

On the “how’s that working out for you” front, however, several activists chimed in to note that, for all its progressive rhetoric, McDonald’s could be doing a lot more than ceremoniously inverting its arches.

Like paying its workers a living wage, for example. Here’s from the “Washington Post” article that addressed the “backlash”:

“The stunt has rung hollow to many of the company’s critics, who say McDonald’s has systematically advanced policies that disadvantage its female employees. In particular, the company has fought a sustained battle against increases to the minimum wage, an issue that affects women disproportionately.

This is far from the first time that activists and critics have called on McDonald’s to pay its employees more. The chain, which employs 375,000 people in the United States, is a regular target of the Fight for $15 campaign, which advocates for higher wages. McDonald’s also has found its shareholder meetings disrupted by minimum-wage activists.”

In May of last year, advocates from the Women’s March, MoveOn.Org and Our Revolution joined forces to stage a protest march from Trump Tower in downtown Chicago to the Rock N Roll McDonald’s. Their objective: to get McDonald’s to bump its minimum wage to $15 an hour and allow its workers to unionize.

Read more here.

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