The fast-food giant delivered the news in a letter to the National Restaurant Association on Tuesday, according to Politico. "The conversation about wages is an important one," wrote Genna Gent, McDonald's vice president of government relations. "It's one we wish to advance, not impede."
A 2014 survey found that 62 percent of U.S. employers supported a minimum-wage hike. That momentum has been growing since, with numerous states and cities raising their minimum wages in recent years. Thirty states plus Washington, D.C., now have higher minimums than the U.S. federal wage floor, which has been $7.25 per hour since 2009. In February, McDonald's home state of Illinois instituted a law raising that state's minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025.
Still, minimum-wage increases are controversial. Proponents say wages have lagged far behind federal inflation rates for decades, and raising them would bolster the economy, help employee retention, and improve quality of life for low-income workers. Opponents say it would force a commensurate salary raise across the rest of the U.S. workforce, creating unsustainably high payrolls for many businesses, especially small ones.
That's why the McDonald's decision is so meaningful: The National Restaurant Association is one of the biggest lobbying forces in the U.S. against minimum-wage hikes. "Progress must come from all corners of our society," Gent wrote. "And McDonald's Corporation is committed to playing a meaningful role in the spaces we occupy."