A forever-commitment by McDonald’s & franchisees

McDonald’s Corporation and franchisees tie the knot, take joint responsibility for employees


In a intimate ceremony held in the Denny Triangle neighborhood this morning, McDonald’s Corporation was formally betrothed to its franchisees, marking the long-awaited Federal recognition of their status as joint employers. (The couple is registered in Federal district court, where their lobby group is suing to block the $15 minimum wage, and also at the New York Stock Exchange, where they’re worth billions of dollars.)

The most beautiful moment came when McDonald’s Corporation was asked “Do you recognize the franchisees and their half-million employees as your lawfully-joined partner?” and choking away the tears, they responded with a heartfelt “I do”.

The vows were also touching:

I, McDonald’s Corporation, a multibillion-dollar Oak Brook, Illinois based global enterprise do hereby promise to cherish my Franchisee, by providing extensive rules, regulations, and investments. For richer or for even richer, in sick-days or in health, in lawsuits and in lobbyists, as long as we both are incorporated.

The franchisees made similar vows:

I, Franchisee, do hereby promise to love, honor, and especially obey, McDonald’s, following all of their rules. For richer or for even richer, in sick-days or in health, in lawsuits and in lobbyists, as long as we both are incorporated.

The words of the officiant are also worth savoring:

Who here had a feeling this was going to happen ever since McDonald’s first started seeing its franchisees more than a half-century ago? Raise your hands if you just *knew* these two were really one. They’re so much the same, when they lock eyes, it’s like looking in the mirror!

What’s incredible is that over the years, their relationship has only grown stronger. Even today, every time there’s a corporate inspector in a store — and that happens a *lot* — you can see this special glint in their eyes.

It’s not just about ensuring adherence to an encyclopedic list of rules and procedures — it’s about history, and togetherness. And consistency.

The relationship between these two is so strong that everywhere you go, when its McDonald’s and a franchisee united, things are EXACTLY THE SAME. The food, the advertising, the working conditions, the training, the scheduling system. EXACTLY THE SAME.

That’s true intimacy, and that’s really something.

So we stand here today underneath these golden wedding arches not to unite McDonald’s and its franchisees. No, that time has long since passed.

We stand here ready to gorge ourselves on the meal of happiness because today, they can bring their love out of the alleyways where Hamburglars roam.

We no longer need grimace because the Federal government this week has taken yet another grand step forward in recognizing true love, pronouncing that McDonald’s and its franchisees can be treated as one. And that’s something worth celebrating.

Just a year ago, while the love and the relationship between McDonald’s and its franchisees were exactly the same as today, this ceremony may not have been possible in the eyes of the Federal government.

Sure, they made time to get away together at International Franchise Association events — just think, they’ve been sharing a DC lobby group this whole time, of course we all knew about them! But they weren’t quite ready to come out into the open.

Like in all relationships, they even argued sometimes.

When workers went on strike against poverty wages, McDonald’s would point the finger at franchisees and say they didn’t have any power. Then the franchisees would point the finger right back at McDonald’s and say they couldn’t afford it. Oh those two & their little spats!

There are arguments in every relationship. And most relationships don’t come with an operations manual. But this one does. Several, actually.

There’s a franchise agreement, and there are long and extremely detailed appendices, and there are training procedures, and grill and fryer and inventory operations manuals, and real estate contracts, and advertising agreements, and scheduling software. It’s thousands of pages. Spells the whole thing out. No room for error.

It’s really an extraordinary way to be together, and it says a whole lot about them.

So let’s supersize this relationship!


Contact: Sage Wilson, Working Washington, sage@workingwa.org

Working Washington unites low-wage workers to fight for a fair economy where everyone can support themselves, afford the basics, and contribute to the economy. We launched the fast food strikes that sparked the fight for $15 in Seattle; we helped lead the successful campaign to pass $15 in SeaTac; and we work in coalition with unions, faith groups, and grassroots organizations to hold corporations & politicians accountable to community needs.