By State Representative Chris Taylor
I’m at my third American Exchange Legislative Council (ALEC)...
Edible product manufacturer McDonald’s nixed an employee resources website this week after its content repeatedly became the source of ridicule on the Internet.
Their “McResources” website was widely mocked on social media in July when the company published an essay that tacitly admitted McDonald’s workers cannot make ends meet on their fast food wages alone, giving them a sample budget showing income from a second job, but failing to account for food, heating or gasoline. And it recommended paying just $20 a month for health care.
The McDonald’s site returned to public shame in early December when a third-party content provider published tips on how much the company’s workers should pay their housekeepers and pool cleaners.
The last straw came on December 23, when CNBC spotted a post on the site that labeled burgers and fries -- two staples of McDonald’s edible product line -- an “unhealthy choice,” recommending water, a salad and a sub sandwich instead. “Eat at places that offer a variety of salads, soups and vegetables to help maintain your best health,” it advised.
That was apparently one salad too far for McDonald’s. Instead of canning McResources after multiple instances of it stepping on the company’s legions of government-subsidized, low-wage workers -- many of whom have been striking of late -- McDonald’s french fried the website for recommending healthy foods.
Playing damage control, McDonald’s issued a statement agreeing with the recommendation that it nixed. "Portions of this website continue to be taken entirely out of context," the company insisted. "This website provides useful information from respected third-parties about many topics, among them health and wellness. It also includes information from experts about healthy eating and making balanced choices. McDonald's agrees with this advice."
Even so, the National Employment Law Center (NELC) says (PDF) that U.S. taxpayers will subsidize McDonald’s low wages to the tune of $1.2 billion this year, yet the company said in an April press release that its shareholders earned over $1.5 billion in the first quarter of 2013 alone.
“While payroll data for individual fast-food companies is not publicly available, we estimate that the low-wage business model at the 10 largest fast-food companies in the United States costs taxpayers more than $3.8 billion each year,” the NELC explains. “As the largest employer in the fast-food industry, McDonald’s alone costs taxpayers nearly twice as much as its next-largest competitor, [Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC owner] Yum! Brands.”