But the burgers are cheaper here, I bet, so there’s that

This is the sort of stuff that gets out when workers come together. You find out what other people make:

I work for McDonald’s and I make $21 an hour.
No, that isn’t a typo. It’s really my salary.
You see, I work for McDonald’s in Denmark, where an agreement between our union and the company guarantees that workers older than 18 are paid at least $21 an hour. Employees younger than 18 make at least $15 — meaning teenagers working at McDonald’s in Denmark make more than two times what many adults in America earn working at the Golden Arches.
In New York last week, I met fast-food workers from around the world who aren’t as lucky as I am. We marched through Midtown Manhattan demanding a fair wage and respect at the workplace.
Many of the U.S. workers I met make less than $9 an hour. And unlike in Denmark, where most fast-food workers are young people looking to make extra money while in school, the vast majority of U.S. fast-food workers are adults trying to support their families. Roughly 70 percent are in their 20s or older,according to a recent study, and more than a quarter are raising kids.
I met Jessica Davis, for example, who works at a McDonald’s in Chicago and has two daughters— one 4 years old and the other 4 months old. After working four years at McDonald’s, she makes $8.98 an hour and has no stable work schedule.
McDonald’s didn’t give us our union. We had to fight for it. It was a five-year struggle that involved many demonstrations like the ones that will stretch across the globe on Thursday.
How can fast-food companies expect employees to work hard but not pay them enough to live on?

How indeed? Louise is just asking. No harm in asking.

My son went to Denmark with his then-girlfriend (now fiancée) two years ago for Christmas. He sent us a blurry photo of what looked like him holding hands with a group of tall, smiling people dancing in a circle around a Christmas tree. If you knew him you would know he’s not a dancing around a tree type person. He’s more of a “disappears immediately when any spontaneous dancing breaks out and he’s not coming back, either” type person. I was so glad he was enjoying himself with the happy people in that photo.

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79 replies
  1. 1
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I believe that a recent survey found that Danes were per capita the happiest nation in the world. Things like this might well factor in.

  2. 2
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    I love your son, Kay.

  3. 3
    angler says:

    I rescind my personal McD’s boycott for my next, and 1st, trip to Copenhagen.

  4. 4
    Baud says:

    He sent us a blurry photo of what looked like him holding hands with a group of tall, smiling people dancing in a circle around a Christmas tree.

    Yeah, that might just be the free flowing drugs they got there.

  5. 5
    Morzer says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I believe they are the bacon konger of the world, which might have something to do with it. No doubt saying this means that I am guilty of complicity in CIA-sponsored Ukrainian meat product funded fascism…..

  6. 6
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Morzer: No doubt.

  7. 7
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Things like making something approaching a living wage? I think they might.

    P.S. That first sentence might be the single longest sentence in the world containing four words ending in “ing” (and not all gerunds, either!)

    Edit: Not longest sentence, but highest percentage of “ing” words to total.

  8. 8
    trollhattan says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:
    Corporate says they have a position for you in Marketing.

    http://www.ing.com/en.htm

  9. 9
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I am sure some rants on this blog have far more “ing” words per sentence – unless repeating the word “fucking” multiple times doesn’t count.

  10. 10
    Morzer says:

    @trollhattan:

    That’s INGenious!

  11. 11
    Eric U. says:

    sad thing is the labor cost is a small fraction of what a typical mcdonalds is pulling in. I don’t doubt there are costs, but if a restaurant is pulling in $10k during busy hours, the difference between $100 and $200 in labor cost per hour is not going to change the profit picture to any degree.

  12. 12
    Lurking Buffoon says:

    @Morzer: What an INGlorious thing to observe!

  13. 13
    muddy says:

    @Eric U.: Dirty commie.

  14. 14
    Morzer says:

    @Lurking Buffoon:

    Nearly as bad as my trip to INGerlund recently.

  15. 15
    smintheus says:

    Dating a Danish girlfriend can make most guys suddenly want to do a lot of dancing, and other stuff as well. Including learning Danish.

  16. 16
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @trollhattan:

    LOLling.

  17. 17
    Morzer says:

    @smintheus:

    Eating a Danish every morning can have surprising effects.

  18. 18
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @smintheus:

    Yup. Ask Garrison Keillor.

  19. 19
    srv says:

    The Danes make good speakers, so they must know how to party.

  20. 20
    NotMax says:

    He’s more of a “disappears immediately when any spontaneous dancing breaks out and he’s not coming back, either” type

    Huzzah for that. Obviously a person of erudite refinement and deep-seated wisdom.

    (NotMax don’t dance. Don’t even rhythmically pose.)

  21. 21
    Morzer says:

    @NotMax:

    So we can’t put you down for the Balloon-Juice Interpretative Dance Troupe?

  22. 22
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Morzer: Well, the Ukrainians do love them some pork fat. Thinly sliced salo with some garlic scapes on dark bread, and a shot of vodka – good stuff.

  23. 23
    KG says:

    @Eric U.: not to mention the fact that if people are making more money, they’ll be spending more money… Oh, and the fact that they won’t need government assistance (or at least as much), meaning tax burdens might actually be able yo be justifiably lowered. But, that means looking slightly beyond the till, and I’m guessing they don’t teach that in business school

  24. 24
    KG says:

    @Gin & Tonic: what doesn’t go good with bacon and a shot of vodka?

  25. 25
    Morzer says:

    @KG:

    I am going to be a little daring here and suggest that bacon and coffee is a better match. I know, I know, that makes me objectively despicable, but still….

  26. 26
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @KG:

    what doesn’t go good with bacon and a shot of vodka?

    Poison. Neither the band nor the causer of death. Wait a minute, I still didn’t make it clear… Shit.

  27. 27
    trollhattan says:

    @srv:
    Dynaudio es mui bueno.

  28. 28
    NotMax says:

    @KG

    Scotch?

  29. 29
    srv says:

    @trollhattan: Now that I’ve upgraded my amp, I may have to do something about my Dyns…

  30. 30
    smintheus says:

    @Morzer: Every morning is probably too often.

  31. 31
    Mnemosyne says:

    @KG:

    I’m assuming Denmark has universal healthcare (but am too lazy to verify it), so that’s one expense that’s already been taken off the corporation’s hands and can go back to employees’ salaries.

  32. 32
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Morzer:

    Balloon-Juice Interpretative Dance Troupe

    Wait, this is a thing? Because I’m not all that graceful, but I would definitely audition for that.

  33. 33
    Morzer says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    It’s a fundamental part of John’s strategy of taking back the South through peace and love and beauty.

  34. 34
    scav says:

    Balloon-Juice Interpretative Dance Troupe

    and Brawling Society. Bransles, if we’re combining.

  35. 35
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @scav:

    Bransles, if we’re combining.

    That was both clever and obscure.

  36. 36
    srv says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    Wait, this is a thing? Because I’m not all that graceful

    You needn’t worry, you just need to be naked and have a mop.

    Each member has to choreograph a piece. You get “The hunt for yellow mustard”

  37. 37
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @srv: I want “Carrying the dog in the snow.”

  38. 38
    Morzer says:

    @srv:

    Don’t forget the mandatory “tripping over the cat” sub-routine.

  39. 39
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @srv: I don’t see anyone jumping to take “shaving the cat’s ass.”

  40. 40
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @srv: Not It on “shaving the cat’s ass.”

  41. 41
    Morzer says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Also: “Clinging frantically to the enraged cat’s paws and praying to any and all gods to escape serious injuries”.

  42. 42
    srv says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I’ve renamed it “Reservoir Dog In Snow”

    That will need a shadow effect, and prop dog will have to hold a gallon.

    It will be a ground-breaking insight into the human-animal dialectic.

  43. 43
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @srv:

    Each member has to choreograph a piece. You get “The hunt for yellow mustard”

    Yeah, okay, as long as I’m not responsible for “father severs thumb.” Or the ass-shaving thing.

  44. 44
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I want “Carrying the dog in the snow.”

    Hunh-unh. You’re on faxed credenzas duty.

  45. 45
    MikeJ says:

    I would volunteer for “getting the car from the field”, but I don’t want to dance nonstop for six months.

  46. 46
    Morzer says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    There’s still a slot in “The Pittsburgh Steelers betray The American People by failing to make the playoffs yet again” routine.

    How are your carpet-chewing, mouth-foaming and drunk-blogging interpretative dance skills?

  47. 47
    magurakurin says:

    @Mnemosyne: I imagine that universal healthcare has something to do with it, but I think the main point of that article is…unions. The workers in Denmark fought hard through their union to get that wage. I no longer live an work in the United States, but I spent the first 20 years of my working life there. I worked in many different jobs, from restaurants to construction and from banks to teaching with a whole lot of odd jobs and temp work in between. Lots of jobs and lots of co-workers. And the thing, the vast majority of the guys I worked with would go on and on about how shitty unions were, and how they would never join one. And they would vote for people who helped destroy the labor movement in the US.

    Workers at McDonald’s don’t have a living wage because of the healthcare system that allows McDonald’s to “give back” to the workers. If McD could they would keep that savings. Workers in Denmark have living wages because they banded together and fought for it. Unlike workers in the US, half of whom banded together to fight the Gay and the Blahs.

  48. 48
    KG says:

    @Morzer: yeah, bacon and coffee are a good match, and you can always Russian up the coffee, if need be.

  49. 49
    NotMax says:

    @srv

    Mandatory?

    Shee-it.

    Okay then, dibs on Pedicure Appointment. Or if that’s taken, Post-midnight Drunken Rant with Contrition Coda.

    (When you’re organizing an Interpretive Sleep Troupe, please give me a buzz ASAP.)

  50. 50
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @srv: I was planning on using my brother’s 75lb golden-doodle. I was going to make sure the fall was Method.

    @SiubhanDuinne: Yuh-huh. I called it.

  51. 51
  52. 52
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @NotMax: P

    ost-midnight Drunken Rant with Contrition Coda.

    Aw, fuck. That will be the climax of the performance. Gloryhound.

  53. 53
    Morzer says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I was hoping we could rework Fiddler on the Roof into Drunk Blogger On The Roof (Looks For The Mustard)

  54. 54
    NotMax says:

    @Omnes Omnibus

    Ah, but it can (and should) be performed multiple times, so a plethora of slots open.

  55. 55
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Morzer:

    I’d have to start with ‘Eers, Pirates, and Pens, and work my way up.

    Edit: Oxford Comma, represent!

  56. 56
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Morzer: “If I brought my pants with” would bring the house down.

  57. 57
    Morzer says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Literally, knowing Cole’s penchant for spectacular disaster.

    Mind you “Blogger Falls Through Roof” does have a certain authenticity…

  58. 58
    trollhattan says:

    @Morzer:
    “I decided to bring the frat boys their Christmas gifts a different way this year and it was going great until the Santa pants got caught on the antenna and….”

    Something like that.

  59. 59
    Morzer says:

    @trollhattan:

    “I descended vertically head-first approximately six feet into the chimney, where I remained stuck for three days until the frat boys decided to light a fire. My calls for help were seen as messages from the other side, until they realized that most spirits have better things to do than hang about yelling “Fuck you, I am in the motherfucking chimney”…..”

  60. 60
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @trollhattan: Excellent. Contains both pantslessness and severe injury.

    I really don’t understand how Cole can injure himself so badly so often. I have in my life played rugby, skied, rock and mountain climbed, played broomball, jumped out of airplanes, fenced, gotten into fist fights, ridden bicycles and motor cycles, and done lots of random stupid shit. I have a messed up elbow (unrelated to the aforementioned activities – I blame the drunken Canadian girl), a surgically repaired knee, and a few small scars. How can simply existing cause so many injuries?

  61. 61
    Mnemosyne says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    I’ll take “father severs thumb.” Remind the audience to put their ponchos on before the performance begins!

  62. 62
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: Fricking Gallagher.

  63. 63
    Morzer says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    How can simply existing cause so many injuries?

    It’s Cole’s Special Talent.

  64. 64
    Scotius says:

    @Morzer:

    It’s Cole’s Special Talent.

    Just giving his fans what they want. Balloon Juice — come for the pantslessness, stay for the severe injuries.

  65. 65
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Scotius: I still don’t understand it. The world just isn’t that sharp-edged and pointy.

  66. 66
    NotMax says:

    @Omes Omnibus

    Look at at this way:

    There’s a finite number of self-inflicted accidental injuries, and Mr. Cole is doing journeyman work keeping the rest of us safer.

  67. 67
    Morzer says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    It is for a dedicated masochist with a need to confess all in public.

  68. 68
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @NotMax: Woohoo!

    @Morzer: Ew?

  69. 69
    Morzer says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I think it’s pretty clear that John does these things to himself out of a deep need for the spotlight – and perhaps to atone for his previous sins. We are basically a form of talk therapy for him.

  70. 70
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Morzer: Sounds more like a cry for help.

  71. 71
    Morzer says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I just hope he stays away from unsuitable wimmins, animals with claws or fangs, guns, knives, medicines, sugar, fat, salt, ….. hmmm, actually, that pretty much is the totality of American life right there.

  72. 72
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Morzer: No one should stay away from unsuitable women. I encourage people to sleep with unsuitable women.

  73. 73
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Morzer:

    I’m calling dibs on “These Fucking Refs Hate the Stillers!”

  74. 74
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): Ah, make it Yancey Thigpen drops a pass in the endzone.

  75. 75
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    It’s a very similar move. They both begin with a “Rising From the Couch In Anger” followed by “The Existential Bench Press” (if there’s one thing to thank Dennis Miller for, it’s that), but where “The Thigpen” follows with “Pulling Out My Own Hair While Howling”, “The Ref” goes to “Throwing Both Terrible Towels At the Television” and closes with an emphatic “(Double) You’re Number One (Middle Finger Variant)” .

  76. 76
    Ruckus says:

    @Morzer:
    I gotta go with Omnes here.
    Unsuitable women is the whole point of life.

    Or at least most of the fun.

  77. 77
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ruckus: Let’s say they ain’t the things one regrets (absent disease).

  78. 78
    Sourmash says:

    @magurakurin: you and I have led parallel lives, right up to the order of jobs and no longer living in the US. And you are spot on with the antipathy to the labor movement among most high school educated white males. Even the guys who were union members i.e. even a few teachers, were often militantly anti union. Only quibble is that they voted for people who actively destroyed the labor movement not just “helped destroy it”.

  79. 79
    slag says:

    I wonder when Denmark will learn that oceans no longer protect them from Americans infiltrating their country in search of a better life.

    Gonna need a giant wall! And a moat! With alligators.

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