According to a leaked internal memo, McDonalds is urging its franchisees to stay open on Christmas Day without paying employees overtime.
Ad Age has obtained an internal memo from McDonald’s USA Chief Operating Officer Jim Johannesen pushing franchise owners to stay open on Christmas, “Starting with Thanksgiving, ensure your restaurants are open throughout the holidays. Our largest holiday opportunity as a system is Christmas Day. Last year, [company-operated] restaurants that opened on Christmas averaged $5,500 in sales.” In a December 12 Memo, the COO upped the ante, and projected that stores that opened on Christmas would do $6,000 in sales.
By opening on Christmas the franchise owner makes money, the corporation makes money that will help them reverse their first sales decline in nine years, but what do the workers get in exchange for giving up Christmas with their families?
Certainly, not overtime pay.
When Ad Age asked McDonald’s spokeswoman Heather Oldani if employees get overtime pay, she answered, “When our company-owned restaurants are open on the holidays, the staff voluntarily sign up to work. There is no regular overtime pay.”
The holiday is “voluntary,” but anyone who has worked in any non-union environment understands what voluntary really means in this context. The franchise owners who want to open on Christmas Day will make it very clear to everyone what will happen both for those who sign up for work, and those who don’t.
Voluntary in this context doesn’t really mean voluntary. It means enough of you better be here to be open on Christmas or heads will roll.
There are some employees who don’t celebrate the holiday, don’t have friends or family to spend it with, or who need the money badly enough that they will sign up to work on Christmas. If asked the majority of employees probably wouldn’t want to give up their holiday to serve Big Macs and fries to the few who find themselves out and about on Christmas Day. Despite the line coming out of corporate headquarters, many employees will be made to feel like they don’t have a choice.
Ten years ago it would have been unheard of for McDonalds to be open on Christmas. Twenty years ago, almost everything except the gas stations and convenience stores were closed on Christmas. Today, corporate profits rule every decision. So more and more employees will spending the holiday at work.
Conservatives bemoan the death of the family unit in this country, but they never acknowledge the damage that corporate greed, which they champion as free market capitalism, is doing to our society. Liberals aren’t destroying families. Corporations like McDonalds are making sure that family memories are made by placing their thirst for every last penny of profit that they can squeeze out of the consumer ahead of what is good for the community that they profit from.
McDonalds has become the modern Ebenezer Scrooge that is prepared to send thousands of minimum wage Bob Cratchits out to work on Christmas Day without even so much as a penny of overtime pay.
This is the America’s 2012 Christmas Carol.
We may not have three ghosts to visit the Golden Arches and get them to change their ways, but you say bah, humbug to McDonalds’ Christmas greed by avoiding their restaurants on Christmas Day.