Strapped single mom gets a lift from LA union members

LOS ANGELES – Delegates at the March Los Angeles Federation of Labor meeting, in the lead-up to the Apr. 15 national strike of low-wage workers, took immediate action to bolster one of the victims of the low-wage crisis in America.

As part of the federation’s reach-out to non-union and low wage workers they heard from a single mother who has worked at McDonald’s for three years now, still earning only $9 an hour. She told them how, in addition to the low pay, she receives no sick time or health benefits.

In silence the delegates listened as the distraught mother told them she had to take two days off recently to care for her sick daughter. They listened as she described having to borrow money to pay for the medicine her child needed.

Now that she is going back to work, she explained, she is facing eviction. Lost pay because there is no sick pay and paying back a loan to pay for a child’s medicine just doesn’t seem to fit into the budget of a McDonald’s worker.

Federation delegates, long aware of the many millions of dollars in profits being raked in by McDonald’s, now saw first hand the effects of the corporation’s greed on one human being, a woman, a mother, a co-worker.

They began passing a hat. It started spontaneously. One by one they dug deep into their pockets and they presented the young mother with $1,800 to tide her over her crisis.

“She was moved and thankful, but so were we, the delegates who reached deep into our pockets to help,” said one of the delegates. “We were moved by her story and by the courage it takes to face daily exploitation by a company that refuses to pay a living wage.  

“We were all proud to help her.  But we know that this young woman is one of thousands who are daily exploited by McDonald’s, Walmart, and all the other huge corporations that put profits before people.

“Union workers will always take care of our own, but we know that the real answer is to pay a living wage to all, to give people the opportunity to live in dignity and to have the ability to take care of themselves.”

Photo: Low wages at fast food companies, home health care agencies, and other businesses are a critical issue for America’s working mothers.   |   AP


Susan Gosman
Susan Gosman

Susan Gosman writes from Los Angeles.