McDonald's Admits Worker Strikes Pose Risks to Its Corporate Model

Protesters calling for a living wage. (Photo: Steve Rhodes/cc/flickr)

McDonald's Admits Worker Strikes Pose Risks to Its Corporate Model

"The company should be worried about continued worker protests"

Growing calls to address inequality and the nationwide strikes demanding fast food giants pay a living wage have not escaped the notice of the McDonald's corporation.

In its annual filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the fast food giant stated that among the risks it faces are labor organizing campaigns, including online ones, that could "promote adverse perceptions of ... our brand."

The filing states that fallout from boycotts, protests and labor strikes "can adversely affect us."

The historic strikes, which began in New York City in November of 2012 and targeted McDonald's among other chains, grew and continued to gain support in other cities across the country, rallying behind the cry that "low pay is not OK."

In the latest multi-city strike in December, protest organizers wrote: "We work for corporations that are making tremendous profits, but do not pay employees enough to support our families and to cover basic needs like food, health care, rent and transportation."

Growing attention to wage inequality could bring scrutiny to its low wages, and it could be forced to raise its wages, McDonald's added in its filing statement. It lists as another risk factor:

The impact on our margins of labor costs that we cannot offset through price increases, and the long-term trend toward higher wages and social expenses in both mature and developing markets, which may intensify with increasing public focus on matters of income inequality.

"With nearly $5.6 billion in profits, McDonald's can clearly afford to pay us more," said 42-year-old Isabel Vazquez, who has worked at McDonald's in Chicago for 16 years, in a statement released Wednesday. "The company should be worried about continued worker protests because we are not going to stop taking action until we win $15 and the right to form a union without retaliation."


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