Today, supporters of fast food workers’ demands for a $15 per hour minimum wage showed up at several McDonald’s locations in the Cleveland metropolitan area. The protests were peaceful but loud, and nary a cop was in sight in spite of the fact that all of the protest locations had been announced days in advance.
I myself was unable to go. I had to work, you see, and I can’t take any vacation time from my new job until July. My wife Disgusted in Euclid(DIE), however, is unemployed and she went, and even appears in this Fox affiliate video, even though if I point her out here I would have a close encounter of the most unpleasant kind with some kind of metal kitchen implement.
Anyway, all of the local TV stations turned out, and the Fox segment was, unsurprisingly, the most pro-corporate coverage, though I think you’ll agree that the organizer they interviewed handled herself pretty well. McDonald’s said that most of their workers were teenagers(a flat-out lie) and that most of them are happy(another flat-out lie.) The fact is that the average age of a McDonald’s worker is 25, and while the Fox reporter emphasized that no McDonald’s workers were actually in the protests, that’s because they would have been fired immediately if they were.
So others showed up for them. Most people, in this area at least, are sympathetic. Even the contractor-looking guy who Fox interviewed said he thought they deserve more than $9.00 and hour, even if he didn’t think they should earn $15 because, as he said, HE doesn’t earn that much.
And there is a big perception problem, right in our faces. The most common objection that I have heard to a $15/hour minimum wage is, “But that’s almost as much as I make!” When I point out that perhaps they should be asking why they themselves aren’t making at least 50% more than that, if not double, it is clear from their responses that they never even thought of THAT.
Due to conditioning via corporatist propaganda for most of their lives, of course. The fact is, that if the McDonald’s CEO’s bonus last year alone (NOT the already ridiculous salary he gets for doing no real work) and dividends paid to shareholders would have paid for EVERY McDonald’s worker to be paid at LEAST $15 an hour without even raising prices. Bump up the price of their premier burgers, the Big Mac and the quarter pounder with cheese by even a buck(they’re already close to $4 each anyway), and McDonald’s doesn’t even suffer a profit loss.
McDonald’s, and other fast food chains lest we forget, can easily afford to pay its workers a true living wage. They just don’t WANT to do so, because their insatiable lust for profit knows no bounds.
It is definitely time for a change. I strongly urge you to support, in thought and deed, any fast food worker movement in your area. This could ultimately result in something big and positive for all of us.
And have a nice night.