The Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago, an organization demanding $15 an hour for Chicago’s fast food and retail workers, rallied in support of Nancy Salgado, a Chicago single mother of two who confronted Jeff Stratton, president of McDonald’s USA.
A video of the confrontation has since gone viral, and shows Stratton standing at a podium in a ballroom giving a talk when Salgado interrupted him and shouted from the back of the room:
“It’s really hard for me to feed my two kids and struggle day to day. Do you think this is fair, that I have to be making $8.25 when I have worked for McDonald’s for 10 years?”
Stratton’s odd, unconnected response? “I’ve been there 40 years.”
In bringing attention to this video, the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago circulated a press release highlighting the disparity between McDonald’s corporate profits and workers’ wages.
According to WOCC, the median wage of cooks, cashiers and crew is $8.94 an hour. In contrast, McDonald’s corporate profits totaled $5.5 billion last year.
NPR notes the MIT living wage calculator estimates an adult with one child needs to make $20.86 an hour working full time in the Chicago area to afford the basics.
NPR claims social media characterized Stratton’s response as curt and insensitive.
When NPR contacted McDonald’s for a response, the company shifted the focus on their company President, Stratton, and how he joined McDonald’s back in the ’70s as a restaurant crew member and worked his way up to the top
McDonald’s boasted that the company’s history is full of examples of individuals who worked their first job with McDonald’s and went on to have successful careers both within and outside of the corporation.
In their response to NPR, McDonald’s sidestepped the issue of higher hourly wages by claiming the McDonald’s corporate head office does not determine wages set by their more than 3,000 U.S. franchisees.
A McDonald’s spokeswoman told NPR the restaurants operated by McDonald’s USA, which is less than 10 percent of the roughly 14,000 outlets in this country, pay salaries that begin at minimum wage but range up from that figure, depending on the job and employee’s experience level.
In other words, McDonald’s would like you to know any man or woman on the street can obtain a high paying position with the company, but for those currently living on the slave wages they pay, don’t despair, because opportunities abound, and one day you may even become president of the company.
McDonald’s has freely admitted it’s impossible to survive on the wages they pay their employees.
When McDonald’s recently partnered with Visa and released a “budget journal” to assist employees in managing their finances, the budget breakdown listed income from a second job, clearly suggesting McDonald’s employees could not possibly survive on what they make at McDonald’s.
And because McDonald’s doesn’t have to pay real living wages to their employees, taxpayers fund the food stamps issued to McDonald’s employees who cannot afford to feed their families, which amounts to corporate welfare.
Last month, fast-food workers staged another nationwide demonstration in 60 U.S. cities, including New York, Chicago and Detroit in the largest protest yet for higher wages.