At hastily planned protests in several cities, workers and labor organizers criticized the new McDonald's Corp. pay-increase plan as too little for too few.
Protesters are angry that the Oak Brook, Ill., company won't improve wages for employees at franchises, which make up 90% of McDonald's roughly 14,000 U.S. stores. Even for the 90,000 workers at company-owned stores who will see their paychecks increase to at least $1 above local hourly minimum wages starting July 1, the concession is too small, advocates said. (...)
Protest organizers, however, say there's room for adjustment in the fast-food industry, which is a major employer of low-wage workers in the country. The pay gap between executives and service employees is often huge, said Catherine Ruetschlin, a senior policy analyst at left-leaning think tank Demos.
Chief executives often earn more than 1,000 times the salary of average workers, she said. And at $9.01, McDonald's current hourly average wage falls short of the industry average of $9.49 an hour.
Behemoth corporations such as McDonald's have the power to "set labor standards for the rest of the country," Ruetschlin said.