August 22, 2014
By Marc Bussanich
New York, NY—You can spot Ronald McDonald on the roof of a McDonald’s restaurant on 56th Street and 8th Avenue where he seems to be meditating over whether to or not to increase wages for fast food workers.
In the accompanying video we interview Alicia Beaton, a McDonald’s worker in Flatbush who said she’s having a very difficult time earning enough money to pay her bills, clothe her child and save money.
She’s been working as cashier for the company for about a year and is also a member of the Fast Food Forward campaign in NY, which just got a big lift when the National Labor Relations Board’s counsel ruled that McDonald’s could be held jointly liable for labor and wage violations by its franchise operators. It means that McDonald’s corporate can no longer disown labor violations by claiming that only franchise owners are responsible for resolving labor violations.
She said she likes her job, but is quickly stressed when management is threatening to fire people.
“Sometimes it’s fun, but there’s a lot of drama in the store and unfair treatment,” said Beaton.
She’s only making $8 hour in an industry that is very profitable. According to Fast Food Forward, the fast food industry just in New York City grosses $200 billion annually but the annual salary for fast food workers is only $11,000.
She said her finances would improve dramatically and immediately if her pay were bumped up to $15 an hour.
“That would be very helpful. I’d be able to take my daughter out, buy her clothes, get her into school, help my mom and maybe even save a little. Right now I can’t save anything because I need it; as soon as I get my paycheck I have to take care of everything,” Beaton said.
With Ronald McDonald still meditating on the roof above the interview, Ms. Beaton said she would like to tell him to raise her pay.
“I’d say to him that we need better pay. You need to raise our pay to $15 an hour because we’re not making enough money.”
She hopes that the recent NLRB counsel’s ruling will compel the company to raise wages and even provide health care benefits as she and her daughter aren’t currently covered by the company.