McDonald’s will no longer lobby against minimum wage hikes

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Demonstrators gather in front of a McDonald’s restaurant to call for an increase in minimum wage on April 15, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.

McDonald’s will no longer take part in efforts to lobby against raising the minimum wage at the federal, state or local level, the fast-food giant told the National Restaurant Association Tuesday.

Genna Gent, McDonald’s vice president of U.S. government relations, said in a letter to the association that the company believes wage increases “should be phased in and that all industries should be treated the same way.”

“The conversation about wages is an important one; it’s one we wish to advance, not impede,” Gent wrote. The fast-food chain also stated that outlets owned by the company have an average starting wage that exceeds $10 per hour while franchisees pay “likely similar” wages in their own restaurants.

A McDonald’s spokeswoman declined to comment further to CNBC. Politico was the first to report the news of the letter.

The move from McDonald’s, one of the largest employers in the world, could boost House Democrats and their efforts to raise the minimum wage. Earlier this month, the House Committee on Education and Labor advanced a bill to raise the U.S. wage floor to $15 per hour by 2024. Currently, the minimum wage is $7.25.

Still, the legislation has only a slim chance of becoming law. Republicans in the GOP-held Senate — like their colleagues in the House — will likely oppose it. The White House has also trashed the idea of hiking the federal wage floor.

For its part, McDonald’s has been mired in a suit over alleged labor violations by some of its franchisees, after they allegedly punished some of their employees who took part in protests to raise the minimum wage, Politico said.

— CNBC’s Jacob Pramuk and Sarah Whitten contributed to this report.

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