McDonald’s USA President Jeffery Stratton was giving a speech at an event in Chicago when he was suddenly interrupted by an angry protester.
26-year old Nancy Salgado was with a group protesting the event. The group was demanding McDonald’s raise their minimum employee wage to $15/hr and allow employees to unionize. Salgado had this to say to the fast-food giant’s president:
“I’m a single mother of two. It’s really hard for me to feed my two kids and struggle day to day. Do you think this is fair that I have to be making $8.25 when I’ve been working at McDonald’s for 10 years?” She went on to say that she loves her job but her hours have been cut back lately and “it gets harder and harder. Sometimes I can’t even buy a gallon of milk”.
Stratton responded “I’ve been there 40 years”. Perhaps that was the diplomatic thing to say when being interrupted in the middle of a speech, but here’s what Stratton should have said.
Ms. Salgado. I can appreciate that life is difficult when you are supporting a family on $8.25/hr. Life has only become more expensive in the last 5 years with no relief in sight and you can thank Obamacare for having your hours cut.
I do sympathize with your plight. We appreciate our employees but it is up to them to make the most of the vast opportunities McDonald’s offers their valued workers.
Instead of chastising me for not paying you what you think you are worth, perhaps you should ask yourself exactly why it is you have been making the exact same wages for 10 years straight. It is nearly unheard of in any workplace for the same individual to see absolutely no raise in wages in a decade. Most people would not stay in a place that offered no raise after at least three years. Either you have allowed yourself to be taken advantage of by a particularly miserly franchise owner or you have not proven yourself in 10 years to be worthy of a larger investment. It does not seem reasonable to become a mother to two children while having no other means of support and then expect to be able to raise them to adulthood with a minimum wage job.
Our company prides itself in providing many opportunities for advancement and ownership to employees who work hard and show themselves to be valuable assets, regardless of social status or any other factors. A minimum wage position is the first step toward those opportunities. Somehow, you have managed to take that first step and stay stuck there for a decade. And now you are asking us to pay you more despite the fact that you’ve not shown enough initiative in the last 10 years of your life to become the type of employee who could earn more than the minimum wage.
Not only do we provide educational scholarships for outstanding high school employees, we also offer a number of training programs to help launch employees into management positions, franchise ownership and corporate employment. Am I to believe in 10 years you have never been able to avail yourself of one of these opportunities in order to make a better future with stronger earnings? How is this my fault or the fault of our customers?
Perhaps if you had been able to continue your education you would know that raising the wages of a minimum-wage employee to $15/hr will mean higher prices for our customers or fewer employees. Which should it be? If I raised all base wages to $15/hr but had to fire 20,000 employees would you be willing to be one of those employees? Will you make that sacrifice? Or do you think a business that has thrived by offering inexpensive fast food will continue to do so by having to charge $10 for a Happy Meal in order to maintain our current employment rolls? At what point do you take responsibility for the choices you’ve made in your own life to lead you here?
We are happy to have lovely employees like you serve our customers and we want to see you advance. It profits us to have good employees climb the ladder. No one forced you to apply for work with our franchises. No one forced you to stay 10 years for the same salary. If you can do better somewhere else, I suggest for the sake of your family that you do so. If you can’t, I suggest you figure why you are not capable of better. Asking us to sink the fate of thousands of employees because you have failed to move forward in your working life in 10 years is unreasonable, unacceptable and downright ungrateful.
Ten years at the same wage? Like I always say, if you are raising an entire family while permanently earning minimum wage you’re doing it wrong.