On those wages at McDonalds

This is a slightly excessive ambition for a fast food job isn’t it?

2. There’s been a lot of talk lately about people wanting work/life balance. Does your job provide that?

It’s very tough. I get paid $9.15 an hour. I have to depend on the father of my children for a lot, always asking him for money. It would be nice to be able to support my kids on my own. That’s why I decided to work. I applied to McDonald’s and they called me right away. I was hired right on the spot.

Seriously? Someone expecting that part time work in McD’s is going to support 5 people?

22 comments on “On those wages at McDonalds

  1. If I’m reading the piece right, she *doesn’t* want a part-time job – she wants full-time, but is normally offered fewer hours than she’d be willing to work.

    (it’s also quite shit – and I don’t know whether this is because Illinois law sucks or whether she’s handled the situation incompetently – that she has to cadge money of her kids’ dad, rather than him being compelled to pay it as in the UK).

  2. It is not just part time work as McDs. Or even the five people it is supposed to support. She has to make it harder by
    1. Not marrying the father of her children,
    2. Not tying down a proper relationship with the father of her children,
    3. Having four children without obvious means of support,
    4. Refusing promotion due to stress
    and 5. Not bothering with any sort of qualifications.

    It would be hard to make me sympathise with McDs, but this does it. She is lucky to be working.

    Presumably they are holding her hours below 40 because at 40, Obama’s Employer Mandate kicks in and they would have to pay a lot more.

    But if they want to strike, let them strike. Robots could do most of their job. Roll on the technological revolution.

  3. This is possibly the stupidest strike since the musicians’ union strike in ’42.

    Fifteen bucks an hour for flipping burgers? Dream on. And you can kiss your job goodbye when you’re replaced with a robot.

  4. I do have some sympathy for her, she’s a mother and wants to work. But sadly, as SMFS points out, her poor choices and possibly also the economic implications of Obamacare have set her back.

    She also seems to be the victim of unrealistic expectations:

    “It’s very tough. I get paid $9.15 an hour. I have to depend on the father of my children for a lot, always asking him for money.”

    Um, yes. Having four kids outside of marriage when you’re not independently wealthy tends to result in you needing your babydaddy to support his children.

    “We’re hoping to get better benefits and better pay: $15 an hour”

    Good luck. I can’t see Maccy D franchise owners paying those sorts of wages to burger flippers when there are hordes of teenagers and immigrants willing to work for the current $9.15 an hour.

    But you never know.

  5. Who could have known that one of the unintended consequences of having four kids and no father in the home would be a chronic lack of money?

  6. A new campaign – get the Guardian to raise its hourly rate for interns from $0.00 to this pitiful McD rate of $9.15.

  7. …on a more serious note, wouldn’t the unions here be better off working on a strategy of boycott rather than strike? As a worker, if you hold a job that a stoned 15 year old high school kid can do, I am not thinking walking off the job is a great threat.

  8. What a novel idea, that a father should support his children and their mother.

    And why are people having children they clearly cannot support?

  9. Actually, Tim, I’m pretty sure the young lady is using her job at McDonald’s to supplement her primary source of income: The federal government.

    Based on the rather sketchy information available, I’m pretty sure she’s receiving a nice, fat check (read: many thousands) once a year from the Earned Income Credit. I’d also bet she’s receiving food stamps. And, I’d also bet she’s got Section 8 housing. There’s an excellent chance her kids are in subsidized daycare, too.

    Viewed in the proper context, the push for $15 an hour for fast food workers reveals itself as just another attempt to transfer wealth via forced redistribution. As the government isn’t handy at the moment, McDonald’s will do for that purpose.

    This woman isn’t interested in bettering her life through bettering herself, she’s looking for someone to mooch off of. That is, no doubt, why The Guardian finds her so sympathetic.

  10. @ john b
    I don’t know Illinois law but UK law only compels the father to support his children if the mother requests it (or state aid in place of his support) after he has failed to do so voluntarily. It seems that the father in this case *does* voluntarily support the kids when asked.

  11. “…on a more serious note, wouldn’t the unions here be better off working on a strategy of boycott rather than strike?

    No. If the boycott doesn’t work, then the movement is revealed for what it is… a synthetic creation – half union, half commie – not based on any genuine swelling of popular support.

    What you saw at yesterday’s strikes were union members, lefty dimwits, and a sprinkling of fast food workers. What you didn’t see were boycotting customers.

  12. “Seriously? Someone expecting that part time work in McD’s is going to support 5 people?”
    Tim, this *is* a female writing in The Guardian. So *all* jobs must provide a “living wage” but producing something of value is not a requirement.

  13. Fast food restaurants are ten a penny in the US. In most towns you could throw a stone and it would ricochet off a McDonald’s, a Burger King, a KFC, a Taco Bell, a Dairy Queen, a Carls Jr, a Wendys, a Bojangles, a Chick-fil-A, and then hit an unsuspecting customer walking out of a Krispy Kreme.

    So striking isn’t going to have any great effect on customers unless they’re really craving a filet-o-fish.

  14. I would actually like to know from someone who works in the fast food industry what the true overheaded labour rate for an employee is. And I’d also like to know what the productivity per hour per worker is. The difference between the two is the only point where the owner or franchisee can extract any return.

  15. “What a disappointing thread.Thought Arnald would have contributed in his area of expertise.”

    So true! The viewpoint of someone with a decade or two of experience pushing out french fries would add something to this thread, wouldn’t it?

    Oh well. Somebody probably stole his crayon.

  16. Well, I managed 12 days before being fired…but I can tell you it can be a stressful job. They work you hard on those tills :-)

    It remains the only job I have been fired from!

  17. Well A long time ago I used to work for McDonald’s Australia in a managerial capacity (we are talking 20 years). I can tell you this much (I doubt it has changed) food costs was about 27% as you would expect when you sell food. The next highest cost was labour which was running at somewhere between 12 – 18 % depending on turnover. Royalties and Rents are somewhere between 10 – 20 % depending on the particular circumstances. Most franchisees are probably making something like 5% profit on a turnover of around $1.5 to 2.5 million so are making a before tax profit of around $75,000 to $125,000. With really tight cost control you might be able to get that up to a 10% profit.

    Of course the Corporation owns most of the land and gets a tidy royalty from all the branding so they make about 10-15% of turnover.

    Of course labour costs in Australia are highly regulated so you probably will find that in the US the cost of labour might be lower but it might be 10 – 15%. I can’t see them running much leaner than 10%.

    McD’s is a high turnover low margin business. So if for some reason they decide to increase labour rates by 60% then you can bet your bottom dollar that prices will rise (but they can’t rise that much because people wont pay over the odds for this type of food). Of there will be significant capital investment to reduce labour costs further. During the decade that I worked for them there was regular innovation, new equipment and new methods of preparation all of which was designed to do two things. Produce product faster and reduce labour costs.

    Now in the time I have left things have probably changes a bit but that is pretty much how the business ran when I worked for them. There might be some movement around the margins so grain of salt.

    I can’t help on productivity per worker as I can’t really drag those figures out of my brain as it was now quite some time ago.

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