Now playing
03:28
A tale of two minimum wages
New KFC chicken sandwich
New KFC chicken sandwich
PHOTO: KFC
Now playing
01:06
These are the chicken sandwich war's newest contenders
Now playing
01:16
See Burger King's retro new logo and uniforms
Now playing
03:39
This vegan restaurant is actually opening locations during the pandemic
PHOTO: Stew Leonard's
Now playing
04:46
Stew Leonard's CEO: We have plenty of food
PHOTO: Lifetime
Now playing
02:34
Mario Lopez stars as KFC's Col. Sanders in steamy movie
Now playing
02:48
Goldbelly is shipping food from iconic restaurants nationwide
Now playing
02:46
Why the world's largest ice cream company is betting on home delivery
screengrab mcplant
screengrab mcplant
PHOTO: Getty Images
Now playing
02:05
Internet mocks McDonald's new meatless burger
bacon mask 2
bacon mask 2
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
02:00
This company is giving away bacon-scented face masks
Now playing
02:19
People are brewing fancier coffee at home. That's good for this company
Patrick Stewart and Mark Hamill, two legendary cultural icons, come together to settle the greatest debate of all time - what
Patrick Stewart and Mark Hamill, two legendary cultural icons, come together to settle the greatest debate of all time - what's for dinner?
PHOTO: Uber Eats/Youtube
Now playing
01:00
Uber Eats' new ad pits Luke Skywalker against Capt. Picard
Now playing
02:42
Imperfect Foods' business is booming during the pandemic
PHOTO: Milk Processor Education Program
Now playing
01:05
Watch the new 'Got Milk?' ads
Now playing
02:45
This small business stood for a century, but Covid-19 closed it in months
A man wears a mask as he walks past a McDonald
A man wears a mask as he walks past a McDonald's fast food restaurant during the COVID-19 pandemic, in Los Angeles, California, April 6, 2020. (Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
01:43
McDonald's sales plummet in dismal quarter
(CNN Business) —  

In a super-tight job market, McDonald’s has to do more to attract and keep workers. Giving up its fight against minimum wage hikes could help.

McDonald’s (MCD) announced this week it will no longer lobby against raising workers’ pay. The company shared the news in a letter to the National Restaurant Association, which represents companies in the food-service industry, on Tuesday. The letter was first obtained by Politico.

“Going forward, McDonald’s Corporation will not use our resources, including lobbyists or staff, to oppose minimum wage increases at the federal, state or local levels,” wrote Genna Gent, vice president of US government relations for the company. “Nor will we participate in the association advocacy efforts designed expressly to defeat wage increases.”

She added that McDonald’s thinks increases should be “phased in.”

The association said in a statement “our members are as diverse as the communities they serve, and the economies of every region are different.”

The average starting salary for employees at corporate-owned stores is above $10 per hour, Gent noted, adding that McDonald’s doesn’t set wages at franchises.

Workers protest outside a McDonald
Workers protest outside a McDonald's restaurant on November 10, 2015 in Miami, Florida.
PHOTO: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Many companies are raising pay to get ahead of regulations and hire and retain employees. Workers are less attracted to low-paying jobs in a labor market with sub-4% unemployment.

In the letter, Gent touted a number of McDonald’s policies that could prove attractive to workers, like paid time away from work and flexible schedules, among other things.

McDonald’s has long been targeted by wage increase activists. The Fight for 15, which organizes protests and pressures companies to raise their hourly minimum wages to $15, has pushed McDonald’s to make a change.

For some labor advocates, including Senator Bernie Sanders, the move is a step in the right direction.

“This is a victory for thousands of workers,” Sanders wrote in a tweet responding to the news. “We will keep fighting until McDonald’s workers and all others are paid a living wage of at least $15 an hour,” he added.

“It’s a welcome statement,” said Tsedeye Gebreselassie, senior attorney with the National Employment Law Project. She noted that though there is support for raising the minimum wage at state and national levels, industry lobbying against change has been a “stumbling block.”

“If there’s less opposition coming from industry … that’ll make it even easier to pass some of these increases,” she said.

McDonald’s raised the salaries of about 90,000 workers in 2015. The company said at the time that starting wages would be at least $1 an hour more than the minimum wage set by local law.