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.