AOC Falsely Accuses McDonald’s Corp., Then Makes an Impossible Demand

Craig Bannister | May 19, 2021 | 4:54pm EDT
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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

In a new video, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) claims that McDonald’s Corporation withheld information about its plan to raise wages to $15 an hour, even though it didn’t – and she demands that the company do something that it has no power to do.

On Wednesday, Ocasio-Cortez shared a video in which she claims that McDonald’s “didn’t say” the wage hike “was only for their corporate locations, which only covers about five percent” of McDonald’s stores:

“McDonald’s recently announced that they were going to be raising their minimum wage, quote-unquote, to $15 an hour.

“But, what they didn’t say is that it was only for their corporate locations, which only covers about five percent – five percent – of all of the McDonald’s across this country. Ninety-five percent of the McDonald’s locations are franchises.

“And so, we’re not buying it and we’re not falling for it. And, I’m here to tell McDonald’s directly that you’re not to do this as a PR effort and you’re not going to trick us into thinking that you’re raising your minimum wage to $15 an hour for all of your workers when you’re only doing it for five percent.”



In actuality, McDonald’s does disclose that detail, once in the very first paragraph of its press release announcing the move:

“McDonald’s will be raising hourly wages for more than 36,500 hardworking employees at McDonald’s-owned restaurants by an average of 10 percent. These increases, which have already begun, will be rolled out over the next several months and include shifting the entry level range for crew to at least $11 - $17 an hour, and the starting range for shift managers to at least $15 - $20 an hour based on restaurant location.”


“McDonald’s expects the average hourly wage for its company-owned restaurants to increase to $15 an hour in a phased, market-by-market approach.”

Additionally, the release acknowledges that “Ninety-five percent of McDonald's nearly 14,000 U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operated by local business owners.”

Ocasio-Cortez also demands that McDonald’s Corporation “raise your wages to $15 an hour – for every McDonald’s worker in this country, minimum”:

“It’s time to step up and be honest and demand an actual – if you want it to look like you’re raising your wages to $15 an hour, you should actually raise your wages to $15 an hour – for every McDonald’s worker in this country, minimum. Minimum.

“And so, if you want to talk about it, you’ve got to be about it and you’ve got to walk it. And so, we’re here to let McDonald’s know that the United States Congress is not being tricked or duped into thinking that they’ve raised all their wages to $15.

“And, we will not stop adding pressure until they listen to their workers and actually fulfill the demands that you all are asking for. You deserve it. It should be a human right. It should be something that is guaranteed.”

But, as Business Insider explains, McDonald’s Corporation has no authority to dictate what franchisees pay employees at their privately-owned stores:

“Because McDonald's is a franchise, the corporate office only directly controls issues such as hiring, firing, and pay at the roughly 650 company-owned locations in the US. Meanwhile, franchisees dictate pay at McDonald's roughly 13,000 franchise-owned locations in the US.”

Or, as a Forbes column puts it, McDonald’s has no more ability to control pay at its franchises than Levi Strauss does to dictate wages at clothing stores:

“McDonald's doesn't actually determine the pay that franchisees pay the people who actually make and serve up the burgers. Just as Levi Strauss doesn't determine the wages of the shop assistants that sell jeans, nor the makers of pickles determine what Walmart pays cashiers who ring up your jar of pickles. They're just not the right people to be shouting at.”

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