It's good news for McDonald's workers in the US, or at least for the ones who happen to work in restaurants owned by the chain instead of by a franchisee: The Wall Street Journal reports that starting on July 1, the company will pay its workers at least $1 above the local minimum wage. The move will bring the average hourly pay to $9.90, an increase of about 10%, and the workers also will be able to get vacation time. The big caveat: The move affects 90,000 workers at the 1,500 stores owned by the company; the other 90% are owned by franchisees, and the franchisees are not obligated to follow suit.
"We understand that life balance is important, and believe that this will make a difference for our people," wrote CEO Steve Easterbrook, reports the Chicago Tribune. The decision follows intense pressure from labor groups to give fast-food workers more competitive wages. McDonald's also plans to offer all employees, including those at franchisee-owned facilities, education benefits that include help with college tuition.