Fast-food giant McDonald’s boosted congressional Democrats’ efforts to hike the minimum wage Tuesday by telling the National Restaurant Association that it will no longer participate in lobby efforts against minimum-wage hikes at the federal, state or local level.
“We believe increases should be phased in and that all industries should be treated the same way,” Genna Gent, McDonald’s vice president of government relations, wrote in the letter. “The conversation about wages is an important one; it’s one we wish to advance, not impede.”
McDonald’s’ dramatic shift on the issue comes after the U.S. Chamber of Commerce signaled it would be willing to negotiate over raising the hourly minimum, which for a decade has been stuck at $7.25. “We’re going to listen,” Chamber President Tom Donohue told reporters in January.
“If it’s going to be done, it’s going to need to be paired with relief for small businesses,” Neil Bradley, the chamber’s executive vice president and chief policy officer, told POLITICO in January. Bradley added then that the Chamber wouldn’t support a raise all the way to $15 an hour.
McDonald’s shift on the hourly wage minimum could help House leaders put down an uprising from several red-state Democrats who during a closed-door meeting Tuesday threatened to oppose their party’s bill to hike it to $15. The dissidents expressed skepticism about whether the bill will pass on the House floor.