McDonald’s Takes Down Horribly Out-Of-Touch Employee ‘Resource’ Site Amidst Heavy Criticism

McDonald's takes down workers' resource site amidst heavy criticism.

McDonald’s took down its heavily criticized resource site, saying that the negative publicity and scrutiny was unwarranted and didn’t help their workers. Meme by Elisabeth Parker for Addicting Info.

After a series of major gaffes and insults on their part, McDonald’s has shut down its employee resource website, the McResource Line. They intended the McResource Line to be a hub of help and advice for their employees. Instead, it’s been horribly out of touch with the lives of their average worker.

According to CNN, McDonald’s did this as part of a re-evaluation of the whole initiative. One could hope that they’re re-evaluating the advice that they give, and finding ways to actually reach their own workers instead of giving advice best suited to people living entirely different–and better-moneyed–lives. However, that’s not likely the case. Their statement says,

“A combination of factors has led us to re-evaluate and we’ve directed the vendor to take down the website. Between links to irrelevant or outdated information, along with outside groups taking elements out of context, this created unwarranted scrutiny and inappropriate commentary. None of this helps our McDonald’s team members.” [emphasis added]

It’s hard to take what was actually there out of context. It’s hard to take the fact that a large percentage of their employees are low-income workers out of context. It’s really hard to take things that are either wildly wrong, or clearly meant for upper-middle class and wealthy people, instead of the average fast-food worker, out of context. Especially when it wasn’t the scrutiny and “inappropriate commentary” that didn’t help their workers, it was their “wonderful” advice that was so unhelpful. Below is some of that advice.

McDonald’s put out a terrible budget plan for its workers.

Back in July, they put out an insensitive and poorly-thought out budget plan for their workers to follow, supposedly to help them with basic money management. The plan allowed for a whopping $20 per month in health insurance, $90 for electricity, and $0 for heating (yes, zilch). Car insurance and homeowner’s or renter’s insurance were crammed together at $100 per month (where are those two insurance premiums together that cheap?). And it assumed another income source, like a spouse or a second job.

In short, McDonald’s not only tried to tell workers it was easy to live on two low-income jobs and have money left over, they used ridiculously unrealistic numbers to do it. That sample plan showed no serious research into actual living costs in different parts of the country, and was a gross insult to their workers.

McDonald’s advised its employees to seek government assistance.

Back in October, they struck again when they advised workers to get public assistance. The fast food industry as a whole costs taxpayers $7.7 billion per year thanks to unlivable pay. To encourage your workers to seek assistance, even if they work full-time, is to admit that your company doesn’t pay its workers sufficiently.

One argument against raising the minimum wage is that fast food restaurants are usually franchised, and the franchisees would have trouble paying their workers the higher wages, along with everything else they’re responsible for, without significantly raising their prices.

However, McDonald’s corporate brings in billions in profits per year, and franchisees pay McDonald’s corporate royalty fees. McDonald’s new CEO made $13.8 million in 2012. The outgoing CEO received $27.7 million, up from $8.8 million in 2011. Perhaps McDonald’s corporate could do with a little less in their pockets to allow their franchisees to pay living wages. Then the company wouldn’t have to tell its employees to get help from the government.

McDonald’s told workers to eat smaller meals and sell their Christmas gifts on eBay.

But it gets even better! In November, they told their employees that, to get through the holidays, they should eat smaller meals and sell their Christmas gifts on eBay. This was also apparently their advice for better handling existing debt. That was just further tacit admission on their part that they know their workers basically earn a slave wage.

McDonald’s gave advice on tipping people like dog walkers, personal trainers, housekeepers and more.

Then they decided to give their obviously wealthy workers advice on how to tip their pool workers, their caddies, their housekeepers, their au pairs, their dog walkers, and their personal trainers, among others. The recommended tips were anything from the cost of one cleaning (for pool cleaners) to a week’s pay (for an au pair). It also included how to give gifts as tips.

McDonald’s tried giving its workers healthy eating tips, too.

Finally, they told their workers not to eat the very food they sell, because it’s unhealthy. Sadly, it’s also cheaper than the alternative of a healthy sub sandwich and a salad, especially if you have a discount or are allowed, say, one free meal from the restaurant per shift. McDonald’s may have been trying to mitigate losses from that and add some pennies to their bottom line with this bit of advice, though.

In taking the McResource Line website down, McDonald’s may be quietly admitting that it was a massive failure and PR disaster. If all they’re worried about is the company’s image, though, they’re even more hypocritical and out of touch than they’ve appeared until now.