McDonald's is giving a $1 raise to 90,000 of its employees after more than a year of protests over pay and working conditions. Good, right? Sort of. While the move will mean that 10% of the company's workers will be getting bigger paychecks, the other 90% aren't guaranteed better pay. Employees at the some 1,500 McDonald's restaurants will benefit from the new policy, which is set to take effect on July 1, according to a Reuters report. McDonald's also said it will add paid vacation benefits, and that it wants its average wage for these employees to top $10 an hour by the end of 2016. Other companies, including Walmart and Target, have also raised wages recently following public pressure, but many workers and their allies say that a dollar here and there isn't enough: 90,000 people might be getting raises, but McDonald's has 1.6 million employees in total, and more than 14,000 stores. Why isn't everyone getting a raise? The majority of McDonald's restaurants aren't run by the company itself, but by franchisees — business owners who are responsible for setting hours, pay, and benefits for employees while also following the chain's strict rules about uniforms, attitude, and production. McDonald's has said that its franchises are independent and should make their own decisions about raises, but protesters say it's passing the buck (or not, in this case).
“We need real change — the kind of change that will mean we can pay our bills, take care of our families, and live with dignity,” said Bleu Rainer, a McDonald’s worker from Tampa who makes just over $8 an hour. According to a statement by Fight for 15 protesters, fast food workers in two dozen cities across the country are protesting McDonald's over what they say is a "publicity stunt" to divert attention away from the organizing being done to force companies to pay living wages. Another protest is in the works for April 15, when employees from several fast food chains are planning walkouts in more 200 cities.