"There is a profoundly important conversation about safe and respected jobs in communities across the US and around the world," said Chris Kempchinski, US President at McDonald's, in a statement. "Together with our franchisees, we have a responsibility to take action on this issue and are committed to promoting positive change."
This is the first time McDonald's has organized such training for nearly 850,000 American restaurant workers as cooks and cashiers . After criticism of workplace safety issues began last year, the company conducted training for managers and restaurateurs and introduced an anonymous hotline for employees to report concerns.
But workers' rights groups say these measures are not enough, and they urge the company to do a better job by ensuring that reports on workplace problems are handled properly.
"Training workers to know right from wrong is meaningless if workers who report misconduct are ignored or worse punished. Training is useless if those who ignore its lessons are not faced with consequences. ", the groups said.
Jim Cisco, CEO of Enodo Global's corporate risk consulting firm, said the training program is unlikely to create a real change in McDonald's corporate culture unless the company speaks directly to employees about issues that collides and fails to come up with solutions that can be measured.
"McDonald's efforts for this training will not yield tangible, measurable results," Cisco said.
The company will require training in all its corporate restaurants and strongly encourages its franchise owners to follow the program. About 95% of the nearly 14,000 McDonald's locations are owned independently, so the company cannot dictate how they handle their own employees, said franchise consultant and former McDonald's franchisee Richard Adams.
However, the training initiative is supported by the National Franchise Leadership Union, the elected body representing McDonald's franchise owners, which Adams said should help with the adoption of the program.
"I would expect most franchisees to participate in the program voluntarily," Adams said. The union "has a very tangible, almost universal support among franchisees ," he added.
that franchisees are enthusiastic about the program, but workers' rights groups say the company needs to do more to ensure all employees are required to receive training.