The Fight for $15 movement used the passage of a bill intended to overhaul the tax code Wednesday to attack its long-time rival, McDonald’s.
Congressional Republicans were able to pass the bill after a tense legislative battle. The bill is intended to lower rates for individuals and businesses while also simplifying the tax code. Those opposed to the legislation have been particularly concerned with how well it treats business interests – with the top corporate tax rate dropping to 21 percent, which puts the U.S. more in line with other countries.
The Fight for $15 denounced the plan, in an email to members and supporters, as the biggest tax scam in the nation’s history. The email first argued that the tax bill gives a huge handout to large corporations and the wealthy – before then turning its attention on McDonald’s.
“With the corporate tax rate slashed from 35 to 21 percent, McDonald’s is set to reap a shocking $700,000,000 payday,” the email, which was obtained by InsideSources, stated. “Now they have absolutely no excuse for paying us next to nothing. Sign our petition right now to join me in telling McDonald’s that it’s time for $15 an hour and union rights.”
The email was signed by Antwan Williams who is described as a McDonald’s worker from Detroit, Michigan. Williams has signed many emails for the movement. It did not make clear what his affiliation with the movement is, or whether he holds any official positions.
Williams adds that he has to work every hour he can get since he only makes $8.90 an hour.
“I struggle every day to keep food on the table, pay the rent, or buy a couple Christmas gifts for my child,” the email stated. “McDonald’s is already bringing in billions of dollars in profits – and now they just scored an additional $700 million in tax breaks. It’s time to pay us enough to live.”
The Fight for $15 movement has been at the forefront of the minimum wage debate since it started in November 2012. It has fought on both the local and national levels to get the minimum wage increased to $15 an hour. McDonald’s has been a main target of the movement since it started.
Fight for $15 held a march in downtown Chicago to protest against McDonald’s ahead of its annual shareholders meeting May 24. They have held nationwide strikes and walk-outs against the fast-food giant as well. The movement has argued that McDonald’s is emblematic of a greater corporate greed problem.
Fast-food and retail industry jobs tend to be low-skilled and not well paid – but these jobs have also been known to help younger and low-skilled workers enter the labor market. McDonald’s is among the companies that have established training and educational programs to help their workers develop additional skills for future careers.
The Fight for $15 and other supporters argue the policy could help lift low-wage workers out of poverty. Those opposed to the increase warn it will actually hurt the poor by reducing employment opportunities. Employers could be forced to reduce employment or increase prices to overcome the added cost of labor.
The Fight for $15 movement is primarily supported by labor unions like the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Some critics have contested the movement isn’t grassroots but rather a ploy by unions to recruit. The Center for Union Facts released a report April 3 which found the union spent over $19 million on the Fight for $15 last year.
McDonald’s did not respond to a request for additional comment by InsideSources.