Jun 15, 2020 - Economy & Business

Labor activists push McDonald's to cut dividend and increase sick pay

Photo of a McDonald's in California.

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Labor activists with the Fight for $15 and a union movement are publishing a memo Monday obtained first by Axios that will push McDonald's to suspend its quarterly dividend. The group wants McDonald's to instead prioritize increasing sick pay for more workers at $15 an hour.

What it means: The group is seeking a dedication of $61.2 million to cover 10% of workers for additional sick leave for two weeks, putting the price tag at "just 6.6% of the expected quarterly dividend to be paid on June 15."

What they're saying: The memo takes aim at a silent video tweeted by McDonald's showing support for George Floyd and other black men and boys killed in recent years to call for the company to use a portion of its dividend to pay workers rather than shareholders.

  • "Rather than an empty PR social media posting, the company could demonstrate its purported stance by, for once, halting its dividend and redirecting that money towards helping its frontline workers weather a pandemic disproportionately impacting people of color."

The bottom line: Dozens of companies have suspended or cut their dividends this year, citing economic uncertainty brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

  • McDonald's is one of a handful that has maintained it — for a 44th straight year — but could be facing renewed pressure from activists in addition to the pandemic and deteriorating economy.

Go deeper: The new labor movement

Go deeper