Business

Local McDonald’s workers denounce corporate pay raise

Boston 04/02/2015 Latoya Berry (cq) (cq) was part of a group protesting for higher wages. They were protesting near a McDonald's Restaurant on Massachusetts Avenue. Staff/Photographer Jonathan Wiggs Topic: Reporter
Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff
Fast-food workers protest outside a McDonald’s on Massachusetts Avenue in Boston.

Workers gathered at a McDonald’s in Boston Thursday to denounce the fast-food giant’s decision to raise wages at its corporate-owned stores but not require the 3,100 franchisees who operate the vast majority of its restaurants — and employ nearly 90 percent of the workforce — to do the same.

“McDonald’s announcement is another attempt to undercut workers trying to earn a livable wage,” said Darius Cephas, 24, a McDonald’s employee who spoke at the demonstration at 870 Massachusetts Ave. “I want $15 and a union, and this latest stunt by McDonald’s is a check I can’t cash.”

McDonald’s is the latest corporation to give workers a raise, following the lead of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp., and TJX Cos., although those pay increases apply to the companies’ entire workforces.

Advertisement

McDonald’s workers across the country have decried the move, announced Wednesday, as an April Fool’s joke or a PR stunt.

Get Talking Points in your inbox:
An afternoon recap of the day’s most important business news, delivered weekdays.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

State Senator Dan Wolf, Democrat of Harwich, who filed a bill that would require major fast-food companies to pay workers at least $15 an hour, also spoke at the Boston rally, which drew about 50 protesters.. Wolf received a letter Wednesday from McDonald’s outlining its plan to raise the pay of 90,000 employees to $1 more than the local minimum wage and allow them to earn paid time off.

Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff
State Senator Daniel A. Wolf addresses the protesters outside McDonald’s.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” Wolf said, “but clearly it’s not enough.”

“More and more people are depending on income from working at fast-food restaurants, and we really need to look at a way to close the gap between minimum wage and livable wage.”

The letter to Wolf did not mention the proposed Massachusetts legislation but noted that franchise owners, who employ about 750,000 people across the country, “make their own decisions on how they run their businesses and pay their employees.”

Advertisement

McDonald’s does plan to expand its free high school diploma and tuition assistance program to all US employees at both company-owned and franchise restaurants, according to the letter.

Katie Johnston can be reached at katie.johnston@globe.com.