Image from Jennifer Kenny
Taking part in a national day of action to support fast food workers, thousands of people nation-wide protested Mcdonalds, Wendy’s, Dunkin Donuts, Burger King, Subway, and many more restaurants across the country. They are asking for a living wage and the right to form a union.
In Manchester labor supporters including the NH AFL-CIO, American Friends Service Committee, the Alliance for Retired Americans, and the Socialist Alternative rallied together for workers at the McDonalds on South Willow Street.
The Nashua Patch posted a great video with interviews of local advocates calling for a higher minimum wage in New Hampshire. Carol Robiboux of the Nashua Patch also captured the supporters singing a modified version of the classic Christmas carol ‘Deck the Halls,’ entitled ‘Deck the Halls With Higher Wages’. (You can read the lyrics to the song in Arnie Alpert’s post here on the NHLN.)
Below are a couple of quotes as reported by the Nashua Patch.
“The franchisees are all rich, the executives are all rich, and they don’t want to share it with the people who do the real work,” said Steve Kloppenburg, a protestor affiliated with the NH Chapter of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations(AFL-CIO), NH-Alliance for Retired Americans, and Veterans for Peace.
“There’s currently legislation filed that would raise the minimum wage incrementally to $9 over two years. New Hampshire doesn’t have a minimum wage – that was taken away by the Republican legislators two years ago. We default to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour,” (Kurt) Ehrenberg (NH AFL-CIO) said.
“We also support workers’ right to form a union and go to the negotiating table and ask for a raise. Organizing means they have a seat at the table, to determine what a fair wage should be. Right now, these workers have no voice. They also have no healthcare benefits, no retirement, and no way to save and send their children to college,” Ehrenberg said.
Lisa McComb the regional McDonalds spokesperson responded to the Nashua Patch by saying:
“McDonald’s and our owner-operators are committed to providing our employees with opportunities to succeed. We offer employees advancement opportunities, competitive pay and benefits.”
Really, competitive pay and benefits? Since when are poverty wages competitive?
Lets not forget that McDonalds even gave their employees help in creating a household budget that included getting a second job. McDonalds does offer a healthcare option for workers at $14 a week, however the plan has a $10,000 cap and is deemed insufficient by many.
In a brief statement to the Nashua Patch, Greg Moore, State Director of the Americans For Prosperity, stated:
“The reality is that many 16 and 17-year olds – the folks who often take minimum wage jobs – simply can’t create over $10 per hour in value for an employer, and simply won’t get hired.”
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, however the fact remains that the overwhelming majority of low-wage workers are women and are older that 20. In fact in New Hampshire only 22% of minimum wage earners are teenagers. On top of that, “more than a third (35.8 percent) are married, and over a quarter (28.0 percent) are parents“. We are not talking about teenagers, we are talking about families trying to survive.
On average McDonalds only spend 30%-35% on labor costs. Obviously if McDonalds raised the wages for all of their employees that would mean either a loss in profits (not going let that happen), or an increase in prices. When you take into account the vast number of products sold by McDonalds alone, that would mean the $1.00 menu would have to become the $1.17 menu. $.17 cents more is all that is need to double the current wages to $15.00 for all McDonalds workers.
McDonalds is by far the worst abuser of low-wage workers. After raking in billions in profits, they still refuse to pay workers a living wage. The wages are so low that many of the workers are forced to rely on government assistance programs.
Americans are subsidizing the billions of dollars in profits McDonalds brought in last year. In 2012, McDonalds even spent $6 billion in stock buyback programs and dividends.
Do you want to support the hard working Americans that are working everyday and barely getting by or do you want to support the Wall Street hedge fund managers who already some of the wealthiest people in the world?