Nov. 21, 2013 — -- McDonald's is defending saving tips on its employee website that suggest workers break their food into smaller pieces to feel fuller, seek refunds for unopened holiday purchases, and other advice deemed "offensive" by an advocacy group.
The advice to its employees who struggle to make ends meet was "taken out of context," a spokesperson for the hamburger chain said.
Some screen shots of McDonald's McResource page were distributed on the Internet by LowPayisNotOk.org including tips such as, "Breaking food into pieces often results in eating less and still feeling full," and "At least two vacations a year can cut heart attack risk by 50 percent."
A video on LowPayIsNotOk.org argues, "Two jobs not two vacations is more like it for most McDonald's employees."
Another McResource tip deemed "offensive" and "clueless" by LowPayIsNotOk.org is "Sing away stress: Singing along to your favorite songs can lower your blood pressure."
A financial tip from the website states, "You may also want to consider returning some of your unopened purchases that may not seem as appealing as they did. Selling some of your unwanted possessions on eBay or Craigslist could bring in some quick cash."
There's this stress-management tip: "Quit Complaining: Stress hormone levels rise by 15 percent after ten minutes of complaining."
A spokeswoman for McDonald's provided a statement to ABCNews.com: "This is an attempt by an outside organization to undermine a well-intended employee assistance resource website by taking isolated portions out of context."
LowPayisNotOk.org advocates a $15 an hour wage for fast food workers. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
Last month, the advocacy group featured a recording of a woman it said was a McDonald's worker who is advised on the company's help line that she may be eligible for SNAP, the supplemental nutritional assistance program also known as food stamps. The worker, according to the video, says she makes $8.25 an hour and has never received a raise.
In response to the help line recording, McDonald's said the video "is not an accurate portrayal of the resource line as this is very obviously an edited video."
"The fact is that the McResource Line is intended to be a free, confidential service to help employees and their families get answers to a variety of questions or provide resources on a variety of topics including housing, child care, transportation, grief, elder care, education and more," McDonald's said.
McDonald's based in Oak Brook, Ill., has 1.8 million employees and more than 34,000 restaurants in 118 countries.
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LowPayIsNotOK is a website started by Fast Food Forward, a fast-food worker advocacy campaign in New York City that is supported financially by the Service Employees International Union and other labor groups including Change to Win. Fast Food Forward is one of several campaigns in cities across the country organized by local labor-community-clergy alliances like New York Communities for Change, Jobs with Justice, Action Now, 99% Pastors/Interfaith Coalition and Citizen Action of Wisconsin, a spokeswoman for the campaign said.
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McDonald's says its McResource website provides information and resources on topics including health and wellness, stress and financial management.
"The website also includes some rotating 'quick tips' and while we recognize that some of these could be taken out of context, the vast majority of the resources and information on the site are based on credible outside experts and well-published advice," McDonald's statement said. "The content for the site was provided by an independent work-life, health and wellness company and we will be working with them to review the content and make any necessary adjustments to the information to make sure that it stays a trusted, accurate and useful tool for employees who choose to use it."