Protests hit McDonald's in Los Angeles, nationwide

McDonald's new minimum-wage policy criticized for excluding franchise workers

Labor organizers displeased with McDonald’s Corp.’s decision to raise wages only for workers at company-owned stores, leaving out employees at franchises, held protests across the nation Thursday.

Planners said that workers in dozens of cities — including Los Angeles, New York, Detroit and Las Vegas — rallied to criticize what some called a disingenuous strategy from the fast-food giant, based in Oak Brook, Ill.

At a protest at a Wilshire Boulevard McDonald's, Jibri Range, 22, said his repeated requests to be paid more than $9 an hour at a South-Central  franchise restaurant have all been rejected or ignored. 

He said he works four hours a week as a McDonald's maintenance employee and relies on his mother, a full-time cafeteria worker, to help support him. His daughter will turn 4 on April 15, when fellow workers protest again, he said.

“By us flooding this McDonald’s, they know we mean business,” he said. “This is going to give people a taste of what’s going to happen on the 15th.”

On Wednesday, McDonald’s said it would start paying U.S. workers at least a dollar more than the local minimum wage at corporate restaurants beginning in July.

The company’s plan is similar to recently announced wage hikes from retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp. and is expected to inspire copycat plans from food service competitors.

But roughly 90% of McDonald’s 14,000 American locations are owned by franchisees, who the company said would be able to make pay and benefit adjustments at their own discretion.

The protests are part of an ongoing series of actions designed to pressure companies to embrace a minimum wage of $15 an hour and allow workers to form unions without fear of retaliation.

“This move happened for one reason — because workers joined together and went on strike,” said Kendall Fells, organizing director of advocacy group Fast Food Forward, in a statement. “And workers will continue joining together and going on strike until McDonald’s responds with more than a publicity stunt.”

Organizers said they intend to stage a massive strike in 200 cities on April 15.

 

Twitter: @tiffhsulatimes

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATE

3:15 p.m.: This post has been updated with comment from a McDonald's franchise worker.

12:53 p.m.: This story has been updated with additional details and a video.

This story was first published at 9:37 a.m.

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