I have a personally strong attachment and support for the efforts of fast food workers to increase wages because I have worked in the fast food industry myself for two years. I can say it is an exhausting, very underpaying industry to work in.
I worked full time at McDonald’s on the night shift, working over a 400+ degree stove, sweating like a dog, spilling boiling grease on various parts of my body, burning my hands and arms frequently, and often being pressured to work more than eight hours a day – but never overtime. That’s what they do: they work you as much they can but never to the point of paying you overtime. They are so cheap. They only paid me minimum wage for all that.
And my coworkers weren’t much better off. One was a single mother making only $9 an hour. She would work all night and then have to go home to take care of her daughter and take her to school. She had very little time for sleep in her day.
It was a franchise restaurant and the owner was the most hawkish penny-pincher I’ve ever seen. He once scolded me very loudly in front of everyone at the store because I accidentally broke some egg yolks on the stove.
A $15 minimum wage for fast food workers is a wonderful idea and I absolutely support it.
Photo: Supporting fast food workers’ “Fight for 15” on May Day in Chicago, May 1, 2014. Earchiel Johnson/PW