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S-M-R-T ALEC

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Morbleu! McDonald’s has “artificially increas[ed] the minimum wage for some of its workers,” due to the machinations of “left-wing pressure campaigns” and “the leftist mob.”

It’s up to the National Center for Public Policy Research can remind a multi-national corporation to be true to its free market principles and fend off the “barbarians.” To the annual shareholders’ meeting, mes amis! (p. 58)

In its latest annual report, the Company recognized that to “drive future results, our global growth strategies must be effective in achieving market share gains while at the same time delivering operating income growth.” Furthermore Bloomberg BNA reported that the company lobbied “Congress on the potential negative impact that increasing the federal minimum wage could have on small-and medium-sized businesses.” In other words, the Company supports market-based policies that promote competition and growth without unnecessary regulatory interference.

However, many of McDonald’s policy activities run counter to these stated corporate values.

For example, despite the fact that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) works to foster a low-regulation business-friendly environment, the Company publicly ended its affiliation with ALEC in 2012 at a time when anti-free-market activists were perpetuating falsehoods about ALEC and its activities.

Furthermore, rather than relying on market forces and existing law, the Company recently artificially raised wages for some of its employees at the behest of leftist agitators.

So, I guess the way this works is ALEC sends its minions out to troll shareholders’ meeting in hopes of herding straying companies back into the billfold.  It must pay well because shareholder and NCPPR president Amy Ridenour can afford to send an attorney to these meetings rather than going and making an ass of herself in person.

[Update: To paraphrase a couple of commenteers “Artificial raises, LOLWUT???”

If memory serves, natural (free market) wage increases occur when a job creator can’t get job takers to work for him because he doesn’t pay enough. In order to maintain his job creator status he will have to raise his wages. Apparently when employees protest in order to get higher wages that doesn’t count because something mumble socialism!]

The link to the press release apparently only works for a lucky ducky who first received it as an email, therefore the entire thing is below the jump. You’re welcome?

McDonald’s Told: Stop Bowing to Liberal Pressure Groups!

National Center for Public Policy Research Shareholder Proposal Questions Fast Food Giant’s Strategy of Caving to Leftist Demands to the Potential Neglect of Company Investors

Oak Brook, IL / Washington, D.C.  – At today’s annual meeting of McDonald’s shareholders held in Oak Brook, Illinois, a representative of the National Center for Public Policy Research presented a shareholder resolution urging the fast food giant to alter its strategy of catering to leftist activists on wage and other economic issues.

“In recent years, McDonald’s has shown a tendency to cave to left-wing pressure campaigns. From waffling on minimum wage issues to deciding which organizations to belong to, McDonald’s has a pattern of appeasing the leftist mob,” said National Center Free Enterprise Project Director Justin Danhof, Esq. “Doing so is not only detrimental to the company’s investors, it is also a poor strategy if McDonald’s is simply trying to make the liberal activists go away. Corporations that cave to the left only place a bigger target on their backs – which was borne out at today’s meeting. Last year, McDonald’s made concessions to the leftist mob and increased the minimum wage for many of its employees. Throughout the year and outside of today’s meeting, liberal protestors demanded still higher wages.”

At the meeting, Danhof explained that:

At last year’s shareholder meeting, the company crowed about artificially increasing the minimum wage for some of its workers. Well the barbarians are back at your gate demanding more – they did not see your concession as a victory for workers – they saw it as a sign of weakness which they can exploit. With less economic understanding than the Socialist Senator from Vermont, they demand wage increases that would shutter most McDonald’s locations. You should be screaming this from the rooftops, not relying on pro-free enterprise groups to do it for you.

But there’s the rub because when radical liberal activists spread lies about the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a well-regarded 40-year-old organization that McDonald’s joined because it works to reduce our taxes and to ease the regulatory burden upon our operations, McDonald’s was one of the first organizations in the country to cave in and withdraw its membership.

The full text of Danhof’s remarks at the McDonald’s meeting, as prepared for delivery, can be found here.

Danhof also presented a resolution at last year’s McDonald’s shareholder meeting.

Danhof presented today’s and 2015’s resolution on behalf of National Center Chairman Amy Ridenour, a McDonald’s shareholder.

The full text of Ridenour’s 2016 proposal, and McDonald’s reply, can be found on pages 58-59 of the company’s proxy statement, which is available here. The final vote count is not yet available.

“Continuing to prove the main emphasis of our proposal, earlier this month McDonald’s ended a nutritional education program after repeated complaints from activists,” noted Danhof. “Just last year, McDonald’s management vigorously defended these programs when pressured at the shareholder meeting. But once again, the activists have won and McDonald’s shareholders are left to wonder how these repeated concessions to liberal agitators are eating into their investments.”

The National Center’s Free Enterprise Project is the nation’s preeminent free-market activist group focusing on shareholder activism and the confluence of big government and big business. In 2014-15, National Center representatives participated in 69 shareholder meetings advancing free-market ideals in the areas of health care, energy, taxes, subsidies, regulations, religious freedom, food policies, media bias, gun rights, workers’ rights and many other important public policy issues. Today’s McDonald’s meeting marks its fifteenth shareholder meeting of 2016.

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations, and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors. Sign up for free issue alerts here or follow us on Twitter at @NationalCenter.

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  • ColBatGuano

    What is an artificial wage increase? Do they not actually get the money?

    • J. Otto Pohl

      It is one due to human action. In that sense it is redundants since all wage increases are due to human artifice.

      • Hogan

        As are wages. It’s turtles all the way down.

        • J. Otto Pohl

          Wages are artificial. Turtles are natural.

          • DW

            How much are these turtles paid? And are they hiring?

            • J. Otto Pohl
            • Malaclypse

              The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can’t. Not without your help. But you’re not helping. Because you are waiting for leftist pressure groups to get you an artificial raise, Leon.

              • postmodulator

                +2019

              • sharculese

                I don’t think replicants get paid…

                • Malaclypse

                  That’s the test, isn’t it?

              • wengler

                I calmly read the turtle Atlas Shrugged. The turtle must know that a turtle that can’t right itself on its own is not a turtle worth saving.

    • EBT

      I would assume it’s when a place that pays minimum wage, raises it a few months before the new one takes effect thus in theory encouraging resentment about how now other people are suddenly making the same money that you earned and they were easy mode given.

    • Bitter Scribe

      They get paid in bitcoins.

    • wjts

      For non-executive employees, all wage increases are artificial and therefore bad. Wage cuts for non-executive employees, however, are always naturally dictated by The Market and therefore good.

  • so-in-so

    Aren’t you the lucky-duck to get the original ALEC email!

    Deep cover?

  • Brett

    I’m just wondering how an individual company “artificially raises” its own wage levels. This idiot does realize that that’s what the “market wage” is, right? Companies adjusting their own wage level in response to market conditions and what they need in terms of employees?

    That said, I love reading whiny shareholder tripe. I hope for more of it down the line.

    • so-in-so

      I suppose the “invisible hand of the market” didn’t make it impossible to hire anyone at the lower rate, therefore raising the rate is “artificial”.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        All wage decreasees or stagnation are The Natural Order of Things.

        All wage increases are BLASPHEMY. Unless you’re an executive getting bonus. That,too, is The Natural Order of Things.

    • Merkwürdigliebe

      Dontcha know? The Market walks into the company headquarters, solemnly announces the natural time to raise wages has come and then gives all board members invisible handjobs.

    • DrDick

      Any raise in wages not forced down their throats by the tyrannical government is obviously artificial! It is only natural that workers should work for the crumbs that fall off management’s plate to the floor.

  • Hogan

    Why do I think Ridenour bought one share of McDonald’s stock in 2012 just so she could pull this shit?

    • BiloSagdiyev

      Say, is this one from the Alinksy book, too? I hven’t read that since the late 80’s. (When I was a boy, only lefties read “Rules for Radicals.”)

    • rea

      Actually she bought it for last year’s campaign to force McD’s to propagandize in favor of GMOs.

    • JonH

      The proxy statement actually says:

      Ms. Amy Ridenour has notified the Company that she intends to submit the following proposal at this year’s Annual Meeting. As explained below, the Board recommends that you vote AGAINST this shareholder proposal. The proponent beneficially owns 29.8 shares of McDonald’s common stock out of 877,674,778 shares outstanding as of the record date.

      The proponent is responsible for the content of the following proposal, for which the Company and the Board accept no responsibility:

      As you can see, she has 29.8 shares. Quite a bit of skin in the game.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        Doesn’t she believe in Murka?

  • sky

    If NCPPR was able to pressure multiple companies to keep their wages low, wouldn’t they run into anti-trust issues? That would be a conspiracy to pay monopsony wages.

  • Booger

    Is the NCPPR Ernest Lefever’s old organization? The Nestle formula pimp?

    • Hogan

      No, that was the even more misnamed Ethics and Public Policy Center.

  • McDonald’s Told: Stop Bowing to Liberal Pressure Groups!

    Yeah, bow to Right-Wing Pressure Groups instead!

    • BiloSagdiyev

      You people are the rabble, the mob, the cancer that eats at our moral fiber, a special interest and just a pain in our ass.

      We are America and The Market.

      • Dennis Orphen

        That sounds like a quote from something so I googled the first sentence in it’s entirety, albeit sans quotation marks. The results are fascinating.

        • Heh, Bugs Bunny, The West Wing and Hitler all in the top five results: it’s like a Google wormhole.

          • Malaclypse

            I got the Illuminati, the Bloggess, West Wing, and something called Real Jew News.

            • DrS

              “Study: bacon may give men ass cancer”

              • Dennis Orphen

                Synchronicity.

          • Dennis Orphen

            Did anyone else get the Nathan Fillion thing at about result number 7 or thereabouts?

            • Anna in PDX

              Yep! That was pretty surreal.

      • leftwingfox

        Kirk once asked why God needed a spaceship.

        In the same vein, I wonder why The Market needs a lobbying group.

        • wjts

          Reason not the need!

  • rea

    I would not have thought it possible to get me to support McD’s management.

    Everyone go out and buy a Big Mac!

    • efgoldman

      Everyone go out and buy a Big Mac!

      Ewww.

      • The Temporary Name

        A shamrock shake’s not so bad…

        • Dennis Orphen

          I wonder what the Urban Dictionary has to say about that. Stay tuned, same Orph time, same Orph channel.

        • JonH

          I assume that involves methylene blue and a few multivitamins.

          • Dennis Orphen

            Doesn’t almost everthing?

      • weirdnoise

        Rea didn’t say you should eat it.

      • LosGatosCA

        You don’t have to actually eat it.

    • NonyNony

      If you’ve got to eat at McDonald’s, the grilled chicken sandwiches are actually not too bad.

      They’ve taken to calling them “artisan grilled chicken sandwiches” now, which I find hilarious.

  • CrunchyFrog

    This reminds me of the CostCo kerfluffle a few years ago. CostCo was generating better profits by far than any of their competitors, but the analysts were up in arms because their employees were so well compensated. Anyone who actually knows anything about that business and who actually patronizes those businesses gets that there is a strong connection between the high compensation of employees and the company’s excellent financial performance. They get check-out all stars, who not only are extremely fast and accurate but who also can keep lines moving by resolving issues that stop most check out clerks in their tracks. They get and keep those long term employees by paying them so well.

    Of course, your average stock analyst never patronizes a CostCo so would have no clue how they actually work. In fact, we had a few former grads of the B-school I attended come back to talk to us about their jobs as stock analysts. Not surprisingly, all of them looked like male models, mentioned that they were surprised they were hired given how little they knew, and talked about how important it was to their firms that they get on TV a lot for interviews. Not one of them had any special insight. So they leaned heavily on conventional wisdom and rules of thumb in addition to making sure they didn’t contradict the leaders of their firms.

    • JonH

      “Of course, your average stock analyst never patronizes a CostCo so would have no clue how they actually work”

      Oh, they might. Costco is kinda high-end, despite the reputation of such stores. They occasionally have original art for sale priced over $20,000. Just the thing for the summer cottage upstate.

      But I doubt they ever think deeply about the performance of the staff and how the performance and recruiting of low-level employees would be effected by lowering wages.

      • NonyNony

        I think this is absolutely accurate.

        And actually I think it comes from how they view compensation for work in general. The analysts and traders I’ve known over the years all feel that they “earn” their bonuses by being good. They know that the company is paying “retention” bonuses to them, but that’s so they don’t jump ship to a competitor.

        The idea that a CostCo might be doing something very similar to keep good cashiers working for them instead of “jumping ship” to go do something else (not even necessarily be a cashier at another store – something else entirely) is off their radar. Cashiers don’t do the kind of work that would get headhunted, you see, so there’s no need to pay them more to retain them.

        It’s a weird mindset. They seem completely incapable of understanding that a really good cashier could probably also be a really good office manager or a really good butcher if they set their mind to it, and so paying them more to keep them as a cashier makes sense if it’s going to keep your business functioning the way CostCo’s does.

        • eh

          Paying high wages for the best of the best only applies to CxO’s and NCAA coaches.

          In other words, the entire logic belies a scam.

  • LosGatosCA

    If you just substitute ‘taxes’ for wages then you can see why they hate workers making a living wage with the same passion as the government that provides a safety net for those workers.

    Anything that interferes with their grubby,greedy selfishness is a catastrophe in their worldview.

    • Tyro

      I have rarely heard an employer, particularly in a small business, say a good thing about his employees. At best it’s sort of a grudging paternalism where he takes pride in treating them like human beings. At worst he regards them as parasites trying to cheat him out of every last dollar he is actually obligated to pay them.

      Ultimately, their perspective is that every dollar spent on an employee is one less dollar they have in their pocket, and they view the employees as disreputable people sitting around doing nothing while collecting paychecks. Because they feel they are doing the most honorable thing in the world — starting/running a business — they tend to regard their employees as failures because they merely work for a living.

      Strangely they don’t have the same level of hostility towards other interest groups who take their money, such as landlords, utility companies, and suppliers.

      • NonyNony

        Let’s not be too hasty with that. The angry small business owners I know hate their landlords and their suppliers as much as they hate their own employees. Many of them hate their customers as well.

  • galanx

    Though I did find this from the company report endearing:

    Furthermore Bloomberg BNA reported that the company lobbied “Congress on the potential negative impact that increasing the federal minimum wage could have on small-and medium-sized businesses.”

    YEs, because I’m sure MickeyD’s is extremely worried about Jo and Flos’Home-Cooking Diner not being able to compete.

    • NonyNony

      Remember – the McDonald’s scam is that most McD’s are owned and operated by small business owners who pay McD’s a lot of money to use the McD’s name (and buy all of their equipment and supplies and food through McD’s. And often McD’s is the landlord for the building the restaurant is in. And…)

      So advocating for “poor small business owners” who can’t afford to pay their employees more than a pittance is actually part of McD’s business model. If SBOs have to pay their employees more it makes the McD’s franchise contract less lucrative for them and they might go do something else instead.

  • swaninabox

    For a period of time I had meetings in the ALEC office building. Its very Northern VA obscure and the rest of the tenants appear to be military/feds/contractors doing, well, let’s not ask.

    You can spot the ALEC folks by the actually close tailored clothing and the nice shoes.

    Plus the whif of entitlement visible from 100 paces.

    So *odd* that they are not in a more high end location, like they were avoiding protesters or observation of their visitors.

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