Faced With a Staffing Crisis, McDonald’s Moves to Improve Worker’s Rights

The events of the last year have created a perfect storm for staffing shortages. After widespread layoffs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many consumer-facing businesses are now finding themselves understaffed — just as the world reopens, and demand for their services reignites.

Alongside that, the ongoing lockdowns have led many employees to reconsider their own professional positions, leading to a boom in resignations – in April alone, 4 million Americans quit their jobs in the hope of finding better work elsewhere.

Much like the rental collapse that has been taking place in cities around the world, forcing landlords to offer more favorable terms to prospective tenants, this new employee exodus has shifted the power balance for the job market. As employers struggle to fill open positions, and fail to meet customer demand as a result, many workers are demanding better deals from the jobs they apply to.

McDonald’s – which in 2018 was the world’s second-largest private employer, with 1.7 million employees globally – is one such company facing shortages. The restaurant sector, in particular, was faced with significant staffing issues, as workers left their roles in the face of the seemingly unending closure of the hospitality sector.

As a result, the business has moved to improve worker’s rights in the U.S. This includes an increase to hourly pay, the offer of paid time off, and providing help to cover tuition costs for its workers.

According to reporting by the Wall Street Journal, an internal presentation to McDonald’s staff acknowledged that the company needs to “fundamentally change what it means to work at a McDonald’s restaurant.” In a statement, the company said that many of the benefits were already being offered to eligible employees.

The company’s competitors, including Burger King and KFC, have not yet announced similarly competitive packages for employees. Last week, a Burger King branch in Nebraska drew media attention when staff took to the restaurant’s sign, writing “We all quit. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

At the other end of the spectrum, a restaurant in New York just broke the record for the world’s most expensive french fries.
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