McDonald’s US president says California’s fast-food council which plans to raise minimum wage to $22 at its restaurants will hurt everyone

    In a letter published on Wednesday, Joe Erlinger, the president of McDonald's US, said California's bill to form a 10-person fast food council is "lopsided, hypocritical and ill-considered," and "hurts everyone."

    Credit: Mcdonald’s

    “As President of McDonald’s USA, it may come as a surprise to hear. But I support raising minimum wages for workers,” Erlinger article reads. “In fact, I welcome legislation that increases wages for all workers.”

    Erlinger said the legislation, which also makes trainining mandatory to keep workplaces “safe, inclusive and respectful,” can be “highly effective”. If it is did in a good way. But, according to him, the bill by California state legislators, “will do the exact opposite.”

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    California’s state senate just passed AB 257, the FAST Recovery Act, to form a 10-person council. It consists of fast-food workers, restaurant representatives, and government officials. It will have power to establish minimum wage and standards on conditions for worker health and safety.

    The council will have exclusive power over restaurant chains that have over 100 locations nationally. Like McDonald’s does, and can increase the fast food industry’s minimum wage to $22 an hour. Currently, California’s wage floor is $15.00, and will increase to $15.50 in 2023.

    Erlinger’s criticises the California’s fast food council by saying that it “targets some workplaces and not others.”

    “It imposes higher costs on one type of restaurant, while sparing another,” he told. “That’s true even if those two restaurants have the same revenues and the same number of employees.”

    He also explains that a small business owner can be affected by the bill if they run two restaurants that are part of a national chain. But a business owner who owns 20 restaurants would not be affected if none of their restaurants belong to a national chain.

    Erlinger said it’s “unexplainable” why chains with less than 100 restaurants, and some restaurants that bake bread, are excluded from this. His conclusion remarks on the bill is that it’s “the outcome of backroom politicking.”

    Credit: Mcdonald’s

    “This is a clear example of picking “winners” and “losers.” It is not the appropriate role of government,” Erlinger article reads.

    Erlinger wrote in the letter that increasing wages to $22 is not bad. Highlighting that McDonald’s can operate well in places around the world with higher minimum wages.

    “But if it’s essential to increase restaurant workers’ wages and protect their welfare – and it is – shouldn’t all restaurant workers benefit,” his article reads.

    Economists and California’s Department of Finance agree that the legislation is “problematic,” Erlinger said, because it could raise the price of food at fast food restaurants in California by 20%, while food and other costs are already high from inflation.

    Erlinger warns on the bill, says even if it is not pass by the California Governor Gavin Newsom. It would definetely inspire similar bills all around the country.

    “Rather than asking for what many have decried as the “California Food Tax,” the people who are in a thriving restaurant industry—workers, owners and customers— should ask lawmakers to only think on legislation that benefits all,” Erlinger article reads.

    McDonald’s isn’t the only chain speaking out against the California bill. Other chains like Chipotle and Chick-fil-A, which will also be at risk by this bill, have grouped lawmakers in California to vote against the bill.

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