Fast food workers protest at McDonald’s luncheon

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SHOW ME $15 the coalition of St. Louis area fast food workers fighting for a living wage and the right to form a union protested April 23 at the McDonald's Community Connection luncheon at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown St. Louis. While its workers’ wages stagnate, McDonald's executives are meeting with community members about the expansion of stores. – Labor Tribune photos
SHOW ME $15 the coalition of St. Louis area fast food workers fighting for a living wage and the right to form a union protested April 23 at the McDonald's Community Connection luncheon at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown St. Louis. While its workers’ wages stagnate, McDonald's executives are meeting with community members about the expansion of stores.
– Labor Tribune photos

By TIM ROWDEN

EDITOR

More than two-dozen fast food workers stood in protest April 23 at the McDonald's Community Connection luncheon at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown St. Louis. McDonald's executives are meeting community members about the expansion of stores while its workers' wages remain stagnate.

Show Me 15, the coalition of St. Louis area fast food workers fighting for a living wage and the right to form a union without retaliation, protested outside of the hotel because they weren't allowed to RSVP to the event.

‘INVEST IN US!’

Rebekah Izeman, 33, is the mother of a 6-year-old daughter and a seven-year McDonald’s employee. She makes $9.30 an hour at the McDonald’s on North Tucker.

Izeman was a manager at the store but lost that title when the store closed for remodeling and she was transferred to another location. When she transferred back, she was told all the manager spots had been filled. She’s now working as a trainer, waiting for another management position to open.

Show Me 15 Izeman
REBEKAH IZEMAN

“I’m barely able to make rent and pay my bills and daycare fees,” she said before joining her fellow workers in a chant of “Invest …in…us!”

A recent report, “Fast-Food Failure: How CEO-to-Worker Pay Disparity Undermines the Industry and the Overall Economy,” by the public policy organization Demos, finds that fast food is far and above the most unequal sector in the American economy. Since 2000, the average fast food CEO more than quadrupled their income, while the average fast food worker has seen a wage increase of just 0.3 percent.

Another report, “Restaurant Industry Pay: Taxpayers’ Double Burden,” released by the Institute of Policy Studies, shows that while restaurant executives are fighting living wages for their workers, they're also benefiting from tax subsidies for their own pay. During the last two years, the CEOS of the largest 20 National Restaurant Association members pocketed more than $662 million in fully deductible “performance pay,” lowering their companies' IRS bills by an estimated $232 million.

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