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Arrested for Standing up for Better Wages at McDonald's Corporate HQ

Arrested for Standing up for Better Wages at McDonald's Corporate HQ

7 Comment(s) | Posted | by Kim Bobo |

“I’m striking McDonald's because I want to feed my kids,” said Agnes, one of the hundreds of McDonald's workers who went on strike for better wages and one of the courageous workers who got arrested today outside the McDonald’s shareholders meeting.

I was blessed to have the opportunity to get arrested with close to 150 McDonald’s workers from all over the country. I had the opportunity to talk with about 20 young men and women who had all faced arrest for the first time to stand up for themselves and their families. The folks I talked with were from Charleston, S.C., Detroit, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Mo., Houston, Rockford, Peoria and of course Chicago.

The stories shared the same themes. People were working hard and not making ends meet. Most of the folks had children they were trying to raise. Two women were pregnant with their first children. In states where the minimum wage was $7.25 per hour, that’s what workers were paid. In Illinois, workers were paid $8.25 (the Illinois minimum wage). I talked with one woman who had worked for McDonald's for 17 years and was finally making $9 per hour.

The contrast between the workers struggling to make ends me and the fancy “McDonald’s campus” with its sculptured lawns, fancy bridges, and Hyatt hotel was striking. Clearly, the “campus” was paid for on the backs of low-wage workers. The staff leadership and large shareholders met behind closed doors, locking out workers and the media this year.

McDonald's can clearly do better. The entire fast food industry can do better. Restaurant chains have one of the highest income disparities between top managers and line workers, and McDonald's leads the way in disparity. This company could—and should—do better.

Workers yesterday demanded $15 per hour, plus the ability to join a union. These are reasonable demands, and ones the company could meet. But instead of taking initiative to develop a plan or even agreeing to meet with workers and their faith allies, McDonald's ordered us all arrested as trespassers on its fancy "campus" grounds.  

The McDonald's workers I met are impressive. They are hardworking young people trying to care for their families. They are smart, and they understand that something has to change. And, they are courageous—they walked off the job and got themselves arrested. This is the kind of leadership we need to turn this nation around. Agnes, Thelma, Alexia, Michael, Justin and all other workers at McDonald's deserve to be paid a living wage so they can feed their kids.

If you believe that it's immoral to pay worker so low that they cannot even afford the basics to care for themselves and their kids, tell McDonald's to provide better pay to workers and let them join a union!

Comments

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  1. charles taibi's avatar
    charles taibi
    | Permalink
    McDonalds is a global behemoth that makes billions of dollars a year on the backs of low income workers. It's time for McDonalds not to give back to their shareholders but give back to the people who enrich the shareholders.
  2. Stephen F. Jackson's avatar
    Stephen F. Jackson
    | Permalink
    I am with you. McDonalds is a very successful company that can make a real contribution to the well being of their workers. A living wage is minimum for life. People cannot survive on poverty wages in this country. Our economy cannot flourish on poverty wages.
  3. Patricia Pitsenbarger's avatar
    Patricia Pitsenbarger
    | Permalink
    You people deserve better, keep on trying to get them to change their minds! They make good money and you should be able to too!! If all of McDonalds employees would go on strick together at the same time, what would McDonalds have, nothing. They would have to close their doors because no one would be there for the customers. And I think maybe that is what is going to have to happen to make them wake up!!! Good Luck!!
  4. Kathleen Bryson's avatar
    Kathleen Bryson
    | Permalink
    The employees have the support of the public. You are our sons and daughters - the corporations, masquerading legally as "persons," have exploited the fragility of the employment landscape IF NOT ACTUALLY MANUFACTURING THE CRISES OF THE RECESSION.
  5. Blanche Crandall's avatar
    Blanche Crandall
    | Permalink
    I salute you courageous workers!

    May your moral and ethical outrage make a great difference to the

    greedy CEO's! They force you to go the government for help, whose
    money comes from all the taxpayers. I am outraged along with you!!

    Good luck and blessings be with you all!
  6. Diane Butler's avatar
    Diane Butler
    | Permalink
    I'VE WORKED IN THE SERVICE INDUSTRY. WITHOUT MY HUSBAND'S CHECK WE COULD NEVER HAVE MADE IT FROM ONE PAY-DAY TO ANOTHER. IN FACT, WE ONCE FELL SO HARD THAT WE NEEDED AND USED FOOD STAMPS;ONLY ONCE BUT IT WAS SORELY NEEDED AND GREATLY APPRECIATED. THAT WAS BACK IN THE 1970S WHEN MY HUSBAND FIRST RETURNED FROM VIET NAM. WE MANAGED TO GET OUR EXTENDED EDUCATIONS AND RETIRED A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO. LOOK, IT IS PAINFULLY EMBARRASSING TO HAVE TO DEPEND ON GOVERNMENT HAND OUTS. NOBODY WANTS TO DO IT. THE BEST WAY TO BUILD A PERSON'S FEELING OF CONFIDENCE IN THEMSELVES, SO THAT THEY CAN GET ON THEIR FEET AND MAKE A BETTER LIFE IS TO HAVE HELP THAT ONLY OUR GOVT. CAN GIVE. NO, THE REALLY, REALLY BEST WAY IS TO RECEIVE A FAIR PAYCHECK SO THAT YOU CAN GO FORWARD AND LEAVE THE GOVT. HELP FOR THOSE WHO WORK FOR SAY, WALMART, FAST FOOD AND REGULAR RESTAURANTS, DAY CARE, HOME CARE, AND ON AND ON. THE PRESIDENT SAYS, "IT'S TIME TO GIVE AMERICA A PAY RAISE". THANK YOU DEAR PRESIDENT. KEEP HELPING US TO BRING THIS OUT AND FIX IT.
  7. Diane Butler's avatar
    Diane Butler
    | Permalink
    I LEFT MY COMMENT ABOVE.

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