Your Big Mac Would Only Cost 68 Cents More If McDonald’s Doubled Employee Salaries

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According to a study conducted by the University of Kansas, every McDonalds employee—from the minimum workers to the CEO—could double its salaries, and it would barely put a dent in the prices of the chain’s famously low-cost food items.

Arnobio Morelix, research assistant at the University of Kansas, told the Huffington Post that a doubled salary would cause the Big Mac, McDonalds’ core item, to only increase by $68 cents, from $3.99 to $4.67, while the items on the dollar menu would each go up just 17 cents.

To come up with the numbers, Morelix looked at McDonalds 2012 annual report and discovered that only 17.1 percent of its wages went to the salaries of its more than 500,000 employees. Therefore, for every dollar McDonalds makes, a little over 17 cents goes to the people behind the food. With that math in mind, by increasing menu items by 17 cents per dollar, salaries could be doubled.

In November, 200 New York City fast food employees went on strike to demand a $15 per hour raise. Their message has slowly spread and gained momentum. Now, the University’s research follows a myriad of strikes across big cites with the aid of Fast Food Forward, an advocacy group for fast food workers. Kicked off in New York on Monday, a four-day strike will ensue across seven cities demanding wage increases and the right to join unions without fear of repercussion.

Nathalia Sepulveda, 21, one of the workers protesting Monday with her three-year-old son in tow, said she’s struggling to get by working 24 hours per week for the minimum wage at a Bronx McDonald’s.

7.25 does not cut it, especially as a mom,” Sepulveda told The Huffington Post. “I have to sacrifice certain things to get by and sometimes I still don’t cut it.”

I know you’re tired of suffering,” KFC employee Naquasia LeGrand told a group of 150 fellow workers at a rally on Wednesday announcing this week’s strike, reports Salon. “I don’t want to see the next generation suffering and suffering. I don’t want my kids suffering. I want to make sure they have a better future than I do. So if I want that to happen, I need you guys to stand with me just as long as I’m standing with you.”

Last week, McDonalds CEO Don Thompson said in an interview with Bloomberg that the company has “always been an above minimum wage employer.”

We’re about providing opportunity,” Thompson said. “When we can help people to be able to have viable income, we’re going to continue to do that and we are going to provide opportunities so that a person can rise through the system and gain greater and greater wealth.”

Following that interview and criticism of its validity, many workers came forward with proof of their actual wages, and found that employees would need to get a second job to make $24,500 per year.