Statement from the Fight for $15 and a Union on COVID-19 

McDonald’s, which made $6 billion in profit last year, must provide health care and paid sick leave to all who wear its uniform if they are affected by COVID-19. The world’s second largest private employer should provide any necessary relief to franchisees so that all workers, systemwide, are covered. The company should pay, not taxpayers.

For decades, McDonald’s has pioneered a low-road business model—copied across the $250 billion fast-food industry—that pays low wages, offers no benefits and relies on government to make up for what the company fails to provide for its workers. The company’s choices to maximize profit above all else forces taxpayers to foot the bill for underpaid workers who have no choice but to rely on public assistance for health care, housing, food and more to take care of our families.

In this moment of crisis, you’d hope McDonald’s, which has stores in nearly every community in the country, would do the right, patriotic thing and offer paid sick leave to its workers—to protect workers, customers and entire communities. McDonald’s can choose to be a leader for good in the fast-food industry, or it can continue to drive a race to the bottom, with billion-dollar companies either looking to taxpayers to foot the bill, or not looking at all while their workers suffer as a result of their decisions.

If McDonald’s doesn’t act, our government should force it and other fast-food giants to provide health care and paid leave to all employees who wear their uniforms, with no exceptions.