McDonald’s is scrambling, and I’m not talking about eggs.
Your know your business has what image consultants call “quality perception issues” when your public relations team is fielding such questions as: “Does McDonald’s beef contain worms?”
Thornier yet for the world’s largest burger machine is its boneheaded response to the remarkable, ongoing rebellion by fast food workers demanding a $15-an-hour wage and the freedom to unionize without corporate retaliation.
McDonald’s responded by — guess what? — retaliating.
Its McManagers illegally reduced the hours (and therefore the pay) of hundreds of those who joined the “Fight For 15″ campaign. Many also spied on workers, interrogated and threatened them, and imposed restrictions on their freedom even to talk about unions or working conditions.
The corporation now faces upwards of 100 federal charges of labor law violations — as well as rising customer anger over its ham-handed tactics. Naturally, McDonald’s responded by apologizing and raising wages.
Ha! Just kidding.
Instead, it’s running a new series of TV ads that, astonishingly, tries to tap into people’s emotions about such tragic events as 9/11, as well as linking its logo to people’s positive feelings about veterans, birthdays, and even “love.”
Mickey D’s corporate marketing director Deborah Wahl explains that the ads are all about the Golden Arches shining brightly in every community, being with us through the good and the bad.
As she puts it, “Who better to stand up for lovin’ than McDonald’s?”
Huh? She should ask protesting workers about the “love” they’re getting from McDonald’s.
Oh, to be fair, the bosses did make one change for workers. They got new uniforms.
That’s not just boneheaded. It’s pathetic.
OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown. OtherWords.org.