McDonald's Suggestions for Employees Creates PR Snafu, Draws More Attention to Plight of Low-Wage Workers
McDonald's (NYSE: MCD) is coming under fire for suggestions it reportedly offered its employees on an in-house, employees-only McResource Line web site, on how to cope with issues like the upcoming holiday financial crunch.
According to screen grabs complied by the activist group Low Pay Is Not OK, the McDonald's site offers such stress management tips as “Pack your bags: at least two vacations a year can cut heart attack risk by 50 percent.” It also suggests singing away stress to lower blood pressure, as well as to “quit complaining.”
When it comes to digging out from debt, the McResource Line suggests employees “consider returning some of your unopened purchases that may not seem appealing as they did.“
“Selling some of your unwanted possessions on eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) or Craigslist,” it adds, “could bring in some quick cash.” And in terms of making ends meet, the site reportedly recommends breaking food into pieces; a tactic, it says, that “often results in eating less and still feeling full.”
Some employees of the fast-food giant are expressing their dismay at the company's seemingly tone deaf attempts to assist them.
"We make $7.25 an hour," Jeanette Lynn, a 26-year-old McDonald's worker in Durham, N.C., told The Huffington Post."Why in the world would we take vacation if we already aren't getting paid enough?"
Lisa McComb, director of U.S. media relations for McDonald's, told the Huffington Post the McResource Line is meant to be an employee resource, and that some of the tips there could be “taken out of context.”
But this isn't the first time the restaurant chain has been taken to task for how it approaches the financial dilemmas of its minimum-wage workers. Earlier this year, critics say, a financial planning site put together by McDonald's and Visa (NYSE: V) unintentionally showed, in the words of The Atlantic's Jordan Weissmann, “how impossible it is to scrape by on a fast food paycheck.”
And then there was the recent news about a food drive at a Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) in Canton, Ohio – where local Wal-Mart workers can donate food items, so their “Associates in Need Can Enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner.”
A company spokesman told The Cleveland Plain Dealer the food drive shows Wal-Mart employee concern for their co-workers. But Norma Mills, an organizer with the activist group Stand Up for Ohio, disagrees.
"That Wal-mart would have the audacity to ask low-wage workers to donate food to other low-wage workers,” she told the newspaper, “to me, it is a moral outrage."
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