1: Why McTeacher’s Nights?

Corporate Accountability’s food campaign demands that McDonald’s and other giant food corporations end their abuses from seed to plate. We organize to champion children’s health, support workers’ rights, and protect the environment. We know a more sustainable food system is both necessary and possible, and you can play an active role in creating it.

McDonald’s is at the rotten core of our broken food system: No entity has done more to shape today’s industrial agriculture system. And its empire is built on marketing to kids—and to communities of color in particular.

In fact, for the last 50 years, McDonald’s predatory marketing to children has manufactured unparalleled demand for its burgers, fries, and soda. From McTeacher’s Nights to Happy Meals, McDonald’s aggressive, targeted marketing undermines and circumvents parental authority.

At McTeacher’s Nights, McDonald’s recruits teachers to “work” behind the counter at local stores, serving junk food to their students to raise money for their often systemically underfunded schools. In the process, McTeacher’s Nights often displace McDonald’s own workers who depend on the income from these shifts. Teachers themselves are put in an awful position. If they participate in McTeacher’s Nights, they are leveraging their authority and popularity with students to promote a junk food brand. On the other hand, if they refuse to participate, they may be seen as undermining a school fundraiser.

These events are designed to give students and families the impression that junk food has teachers’ stamp of approval. They undermine the valuable work that parents, teachers, and administrators do to promote healthy habits for children.

The kicker? Schools often keep as little as 10 percent of the evening’s earnings—while McDonald’s gets the kind of marketing money can’t buy. Meanwhile, children and communities, particularly communities of color, are saddled with the health consequences.

That’s why, in partnership with educators, teachers unions, allied organizations, and members like you, Corporate Accountability is organizing to end McTeacher’s Nights.

In fact, since we launched this call in 2015, more than 30,000 people and over 50 teachers unions have demanded an end to McTeacher’s Nights. The California Federation of Teachers, which represents more than 120,000 education employees across the state, passed a resolution to end the practice. And Los Angeles Unified School District—the second-largest school district in the U.S.—became the first in the nation to pass a policy stopping McTeacher’s Nights.

In 2018, educator and former McDonald’s store manager Karlana Kulseth attended McDonald’s annual shareholders’ meeting to directly speak with the corporation’s executives about McTeacher’s Nights. Afterwards, she said, “My message is clear: Stop taking advantage of children and their families. Stop taking advantage of educators and the community. Stop utilizing this abusive practice of ‘fundraising’ through free labor that results in high profits.”

Now it’s your turn. Every teachers union and school district that joins this campaign builds visibility and pressure on McDonald’s, toward an end to McTeacher’s Nights once and for all. Together, we can protect countless future generations from the epidemic of diet-related disease, and create the opportunity for a truly nourishing, sustainable food system to take root.


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