McDonald’s financial tips to its employees for getting through the holiday, such as selling possessions on eBay and Craigslist, has outraged some mothers across the nation. They say low minimum wages is most injurious to females – mothers in particular, and that means America’s children.
“Disturbed. That’s how I felt after seeing the latest holiday news coming out of some of our country’s biggest businesses,” says Elyssa Koldin Schmier along with a team heading the non-profit group Mom’s Rising in a written statement this week.
ABC News reports McDonald’s holiday advice to its employees - “financial tips” like, “Selling some of your unwanted possessions on eBay or Craigslist could bring in some quick cash.”
The U.S.-based mega-company also advised, “Sing away stress: singing along to your favorite songs can lower your blood pressure.”
Mothers and children deserve better, according to Mom’s Rising, who wants the public to know just how tragic the situation is.
“Working parents need more than advice to sing their favorite songs in order to relieve financial stress. We need to raise the minimum wage,” says Koldin Schmier. “Right now, $14,500 is what is earned while working full-time year round at federal minimum wage.”
As widely reported by media, a Walmart in Ohio is “holding a food drive—for its own employees. That helped prompt a Walmart employee walk-out this Black Thursday. (and a subsequent resignation by one of the company’s leaders.)
“I usually have Thanksgiving Day with my children,” a local Wal-Mart employee told this author Tuesday. “This year, I’ll be here working all day.”
Poverty Stricken Americans’ Lives Cut Twenty Years
American voices advocating for low-wage moms are being heard. A Walmart head executive resigned this week following the declared Walmart walk-out for higher salaries.
Perhaps Vermont’s Senator Bernie Sanders’ voice is being better heard, too.
“Poverty is not simply the kind of car a person drives or the house he or she lives in,” stated Sanders, convener of this week’s Senate hearing on American poverty and wage disparity.
“[Poverty] is a daily stress which robs people of years of their lives, concluded Sanders. “In many ways, the stress of poverty is a death sentence.”
As income and wealth disparity increase in the United States, so does the differences in life expectancy between the haves and the have-nots – as much as a twnety year difference, according to The Nation, that covered the recent Senate hearing.
Mom’s Rising is giving advice other than singing to help employees get through the holiday season and beyond:
“Tell your Members of Congress to raise the minimum wage: http://action.momsrising.org/go/3838?t=4&akid=4882.1901216.i7TIcC.”
As people rush through malls and restaurants, Mom’s Rising wants those same people to ensure that the 30 million low-wage American workers are able to earn more than just demeaning advice.
Since the “recession”, 58% of new jobs have been in low-wage occupations - cashiers and food preparation jobs where minimum wage sets pay scales. (See: National Employment Law Project. The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013.
“And women are getting hit the hardest,” says Mom’s Rising. “Women represent nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers. A woman working full-time, year round at minimum wage will earn $14,500 annually—nearly $4,000 below the poverty line for a mother with two children.” (See: Julie Vogtman and Katherine Gallagher Robbins. Fair Pay for Women Requires Increasing the Minimum Wage and Tipped Minimum Wage, National Women’s Law Center, Sept, 2013.)
The situation is particularly harsh for tipped minimum wage workers (like waitresses and bartenders) who haven’t seen a raise in over 20 years and are somehow still being paid $2.13/hour!”
Low-wage workers are older than most people might think.
“They are not only teenagers working the drive-thru window,” say the women activists. “In fact, 88% of workers who would be affected by raising the minimum wage are at least 20 years old, and a third of them are at least 40 years old.”
“No one working full-time should live in poverty. It’s time to raise the minimum wage,” the mothers assert.
The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 has been introduced in the House of Representatives and Senate for a vote in the coming weeks. This legislation will raise federal minimum wage to $10.10 by 2015 for over 30 million workers.
Fifty-six percent of workers who would have an increased wage would be women. Over 5 million workers affected by this legislation would be mothers.
“Moms are working hard for this country,” says the group leaders. “Isn’t it time that our country works for moms!?”
For the sake of American mothers and their children, tell Congress to raise mimimum wage: http://action.momsrising.org/go/3838?t=6&akid=4882.1901216.i7TIcC
Photo credit: McDonald’s North Carolina website on its ‘Mcdonald’s Inside Walmart‘ page
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