A new video has surfaced revealing how McDonalds encourages their employees to go to the government in order to help them with their financial needs. The video shows a woman calling the McDonald’s help line with a list of grievances and the representative refers her to the government in order to get on the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid. The video highlights the fundamental issue facing McDonald’s and their workers; the subject of poor wages. Instead of paying workers a living wage, McDonald’s would much rather refer them to the government to subsidize their living expenses.
Here’s the video:
McDonalds and the fast food industry costs U.S. tax payers $7.7 billion.
A recent report out of University of California at Berkeley exposed how the fast food industry is costing the tax-payers roughly 7.7 billion dollars. These costs could easily be addressed if fast food workers were paid adequate wages which would subsequently remove them from governmental assistance programs. The study found that 52 percent of fast food workers were enrolled in some kind of government assistance program like SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as opposed to 25 percent of all other workers. These numbers show how fast food corporations are taking advantage of government “entitlement” programs instead of taking care of their workers.
Contrary to popular belief the majority of workers are adults who have families and/or support themselves. These workers aren’t young teens and college students who are simply entering into the workforce. These are adults who need to provide for themselves and their families. In addition, the report found that 68 percent of the adults who labor at McDonald’s are the main wage earners in their families and a quarter of them are supporting children.
It is no secret, in some circles, that the wages afforded to fast food workers can’t sustain a comfortable lifestyle in America. Workers are selling their labor for cheap, as opposed to the idea that competition creates better wages. It is quite evident that what is occurring in the fast food industry, regarding wages, is a race to the bottom. Employers know that these workers are desperate for work and they are simply taking advantage of their situation and passing the costs onto the taxpayer.
McDonalds own budget program proves workers can’t survive on their low wages.
McDonalds and Visa sponsored a budget program to help low wage workers better manage their money. However, the budget either automatically assumed that the worker would have two jobs or they would have a partner who made just about the same. If a worker gets paid $7.72/ hr. (Higher than current minimum wage), 40 hours a week, they would make $1,105 a month. In 2012, the average rent in the United States was $1,048. Doing the math that would leave about 57 dollars for everything else. This is clearly preposterous.
Here’s a sample budget from the Atlantic article that broke the McDonalds budget program story.
Billion dollar corporations should be held accountable for their workers. Either through a minimum wage increase or a more aggressive redistribution policy aimed at helping these low wage workers. There have been large movements aimed at raising the minimum wage. Fast food workers all around the country have joined in walk-outs and other forms of protests. It is quite evident that billion dollar fast food corporations consciously pass their responsibilities onto the taxpayer. The video of the McDonald’s “help” representative exposes the fraud. There is no better time for such a video to go viral in order to expose these grave wrong doings. The fast food workers have nothing to lose but their chains. They have the world to win. Fast food workers of the world, Unite!