It isn’t breaking news that a large majority of Americans aren’t happy with the minimum wage practices that McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE:MCD) implements for its thousands of employees. While the company has surely never received a congratulatory pat on the back for its waging system, the fast food giant has recently come under significant scrutiny for offering its employees a new budget calculating tool to help manage their wages. While the idea undoubtedly had good intentions, it ended up blowing up in McDonald’s face due to its vast miscalculations and offensive underestimates of what it is like to live off a minimum-wage salary.
Since that dooming day a few weeks back, consumers have been vocally weary about paying for a product manufactured by a company that appears to treat its employees so poorly. But once again, McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson was finally able to get a word in among all the complaints during his recent interview with Bloomberg Television, the beginning of which was reported on Wednesday.
Bloomberg’s Betty Liu got right to the point when interviewing Thompson, asking directly whether he believed his company was out of touch with the minimum wage worker. Not surprisingly, the CEO was able to effectively deflect the question entirely, only focusing his argument on the recently reported budget-calculating tool and the idea’s actual timing.
He said he found the tool’s comments very “interesting” because the controversial website has actually been public for about five years, but only discovered recently. After patting himself on the back for an idea he described as “innovative,” Thompson explained, “It was intended to do something very simple, to have someone who might be entering the work force for the first time, for someone who has not had management training to be able to manage finance.”
Unfortunately, that didn’t really clear things up regarding whether his company should offer a higher wage.
But when the CEO attempted to redeem himself, he ended up going on an even future tangent, as he explained, “When I was that age, I did not know about financial planning or management. It really took my wife to help me out. I would have loved to have something to help guide me through.”
Liu did not seem particularly satisfied with Thompson’s answer and then pressed him further, asking his opinion on whether the United States’ minimum wage should be raised.
Thompson didn’t provide an answer, but rather left that one up to the nation’s legislators and the “many people that will determine whether or not it should be raised.” Still, before the issue was finally dropped, he managed to say something noteworthy, contending, “We have always been an above minimum-wage employer. We are about providing opportunity. A lot of people can debate the entry-level point. We will continue to provide entry-level jobs. There was a time when one over every 10 people has worked at McDonald’s.”
And with that, the interview heads in the direction of McDonald’s other murky waters, including its alleged contribution to the obesity epidemic, the payroll tax, and its earnings report. It still remains clear though that Thompson doesn’t yet have a stance on the way he pays his workers, or at least he’s not comfortable sharing it.