McDonald's Corp

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The world's largest fast-food chain. It uses incarcerated labor at its restaurants and has prison labor in its supply chain.

McDonald's Corporation, headquartered in Chicago, is the world's largest fast-food chain, with some 40,275 restaurants in more than 100 countries. Approximately 95% of these restaurants are franchised. In 2022, the company employed over 150,000 people and generated $23.1 billion in revenue.

McDonald's uses incarcerated labor at its restaurants. According to a class-action lawsuit filed in December 2023, incarcerated individuals held in minimum-security prisons in Alabama are "leased" out and transported to day jobs at fast-food chains, including McDonald's, Burger King, KFC, and Wendy's.

Under this "convict leasing" system, incarcerated individuals are allegedly forced to work for McDonald's and other businesses that pay incarcerated workers wages lower than those required by law; impose long and demanding work hours and sometimes unsafe working conditions; and exploit such workers in other ways, knowing that they cannot refuse to work or raise concerns about workplace conditions without risking serious disciplinary action, such as being returned to "more violent and life-threatening" prisons.

In addition, McDonald's purchases food products from suppliers that source from prison labor programs. For example, cattle raised by people incarcerated at the Louisiana State Penitentiary (Angola)—a maximum-security prison located on the grounds of a former slave plantation—are processed at a slaughterhouse in Texas that supplies McDonald's, Cargill, Walmart, and other companies. People incarcerated at Angola allege that they are forced to work for little to no pay, often under threat by armed guards on horseback and in unsafe conditions.

McDonald's' human rights policies claim that the company does not use any form of forced or involuntary prison labor. In January 2024, McDonald's stated that it will investigate links to any such labor.

Unless specified otherwise, the information in this page is valid as of
8 February 2024