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10 Alarming Quotes about Fast Food From the New Yorker

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Fast food wages have been a hot topic as of late. This week, the New Yorker takes a deep look at what life really is like for the employees of major chains like McDonald's. What the article finds is quite disturbing: Many workers are struggling to make ends meet at the current minimum wage — especially in New York City — working conditions are often brutal, and those attempting to organize, unionize, and strike are often punished. Go, check out the most revealing quotes below:

1) "Rosa Rivera, a grandmother of four who has worked at McDonald's for fourteen years, makes eight dollars and fifty cents."

2) "Arisleyda Tapia, who has been working here for eight years, and makes eight dollars and thirty-five cents an hour, says she was fired last year by a supervisor for participating, on her own time, in a protest."

3) "Exacerbating the problem of low pay in an expensive city, nearly everyone is effectively part time, getting fewer than forty hours of work a week. And none of the employees seem to know, from week to week, when, exactly, they will work."

4) "Tapia had recently had a run-in with another manager, who kept her working, even though she had a fever, for hours. 'Finally, I couldn't take it,' she told me. 'I just couldn't stand up anymore, and I went home. She suspended me for a week for that.'"

5) "McDonald's has tried to acknowledge the real lives of its workforce by providing counselling through a Web site (since taken down) and a help line called McResource. A sample personal budget was offered online last year. The budget was full of odd assumptions: that employees worked two full-time jobs, for instance, and that health insurance could be bought for twenty dollars a month."

6) "A recent study by researchers at the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that fifty-two percent of fast-food workers are on some form of public assistance."

7) "In Denmark McDonald's workers over the age of eighteen earn more than twenty dollars an hour—they are also unionized—and the price of a Big Mac is only thirty-five cents more than it is in the United States."

8) "Although they could not afford a lawyer, the court proceedings went on for more than a decade, revealing, among other things, the extensive use by McDonald's of spies—some meetings of London Greenpeace apparently had as many spies in attendance as real members."

9) "The differential between C.E.O. and worker pay in fast food is higher than in any other domestic economic sector—twelve hundred to one. In construction, by comparison, the differential is ninety-three to one."

10) "One disgruntled franchisee in California recently broke the silence, telling the Washington Post that McDonald's executives had advised her to 'pay your employees less' if she wanted to take home more herself."

· Dignity [New Yorker]
· All McDonald's Coverage on Eater [-E-]
· All Minimum Wage Coverage on Eater [-E-]