Union Organizers Call McDonald’s Wage Raise “Publicity Stunt” – April 15 Strike Still Looms

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Organizers of a fast-food worker strike scheduled for later this month say the strike threat prompted McDonald’s to announce it is giving workers a pay raise. However, the strike is still on because the raise is not enough and most McDonald’s employees won’t get it.

McDonald’s President and CEO Steve Easterbrook announced on Wednesday that the company would be paying workers at least $1 more than the local minimum wage starting in July. McDonald’s will also let workers who have been with the company for more than a year earn up to five days of paid time off each year. However, that only applies to corporate owned stores. There are three corporate owned stores in the Twin Cities area — two of them in Minneapolis — with the rest owned by franchisees. Nationwide, only about 10% of McDonald’s employees work at the corporate owned restaurants.

On Thursday, organizers of McDonald’s workers who are members of Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (CTUL) called the wage increase a “publicity stunt” and demanded that the company raise its wages to a minimum of $15 an hour for all workers.

“McDonald’s, thank you for acknowledging the hard work that workers have been doing in organizing. But workers are going to continue to organize until they get what they want,” said CTUL organizer Taylor Shevey. “And thank you for coming out publicly, but let’s be honest, it was just a stunt.”

Guillermo Lindsey, who works at a McDonald’s, was also less than impressed with the corporation’s action. “Every year we help McDonald’s gross $5 billion in profit and they give us a measly $1 raise. No, I don’t want that. I want $15 (an hour) and a union. Don’t you?”

Organizers say strikes will happen at 17 Twin Cities fast-food restaurants on April 15 starting with a 5:30 a.m. rally and ending with a 4:30 p.m. rally at the University of Minnesota.

Michael McIntee

Michael McIntee is a former network TV news executive with more than 30 years of broadcasting experience. He began his broadcasting career at the University of Minnesota's student radio station. He is an expert producer, writer, video editor who has a fondness for new technology but denies that he is a geek. More about Michael McIntee »

Bill Sorem

Bill Sorem is a longtime advertising professional who started with Campbell Mithun and ended up with his own agency. After a tour as a sailing fleet manager in the Virgin Islands he turned to database programming as an independent consultant. He has written sailing guides for the British Virgin Islands and Belize, and written for a number of blogs. In 2010, he volunteered as a citizen journalist with The UpTake and has stayed on as a video reporter.

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