An Example of Minimum Wage Legislation We Support 

McDonald's Arches

March 10, 2023

The following message was sent to the U.S. System from Joe Erlinger, President of McDonald's USA, and Paul Hendel, a McDonald’s Owner/Operator with locations in New York:

We've spent a lot of time over the past several months coming together as a System to share why the franchising model is so vital, and why we must all take steps to protect it on behalf of the communities, employees and customers we serve. 

Our System faces an increasingly complex regulatory environment that seeks to dismantle this vital model, and we’ve taken important steps to more forwardly advocate for what we believe in and what we stand for.

As we continue to navigate this dynamic political environment, standing up for what we believe in must take many forms. We must be clear about our values, and our unique contribution to the local communities we serve through the franchised model.  


Sometimes, this requires strongly opposing municipal or state legislation that has potential for national implications. It also prompts us to stand up for policies that we believe are good for our people and business.

While many states are seeking to pick “winners” and “losers,” we know legislation that creates a level playing field is ultimately good for our people, our communities and all three legs of the stool. 

We welcome legislation that supports small business owners and the franchised business model. We have and will continue to champion policies that do not impede our ability to engage with and meet the needs of employees as well as those that align with our values.  

An example of good legislation has been presented in New York state by Governor Kathy Hochul.

While many would incorrectly assume or deliberately mischaracterize the McDonald's System as being opposed to any minimum wage proposal, the opposite is true. In fact, Gov. Hochul's minimum wage proposal is exactly the type of legislation we should all support for two key reasons.  

Firstly, the proposed bill applies to all industries and helps nearly all workers, not just those who work in sectors targeted by special interest groups or that bear the burden of excessive regulation. When there is a fair and strong baseline for hourly wages, every business competes for workers. In this context, through a strong focus on our people practices, McDonald's can win. In fact, many McDonald’s owner-operators in the state of New York have already raised their wages beyond the current $15 minimum to attract and retain the best employees. 

It's also why McDonald’s and our New York owner-operators have invested over $15 million into tuition assistance dollars through Archways to Opportunity, helping over 4,250 restaurant employees in the state further their education and achieve their dreams. Nationally, Archways to Opportunity has awarded more than $185 million in high school and college tuition assistance, increasing access to education for over 82,500 people. 

Secondly, the proposed bill ties future wage increases to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the main method used to track inflation, with an annual cap. Tying additional increases to the CPI makes the impact of implementation more manageable – whether for a small business owner or a large company – with a phased approach that sets clear expectations for years to come. This means that everyone’s prices are based on a consistent “floor,” and it allows business owners to take into account how one of their biggest investments – employees – will likely grow over time.   

This knowledge will give business owners the freedom to continue investing in the towns and cities where they operate. Across New York, the McDonald’s brand powers more than 33,000 restaurant jobs across approximately 600 restaurants. That’s a lot of opportunity for impact. 

While getting behind policies that increase costs on our businesses is not something that we take lightly or that happens overnight, we believe using our collective power as a System to support the right legislation has the potential to create a strong path forward. As a franchisee and as a franchisor, we commend Governor Hochul for crafting a model that others can follow and that our entire McDonald’s System can stand behind. 


Joe Erlinger, 

President, McDonald's USA

Paul Hendel, 

McDonald's Owner/Operator 



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