McDonald's: Low-paid workers, high-flying execs

Friday, December 27, 2013   |   Posted by Jim Hightower
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In this season of generosity, I'm sure that you get as much joy and deep internal satisfaction as I do just by knowing that we – all of us taxpayers together – contribute day-in and day-out to a very big global cause: Supersizing McDonald's.

The world's largest hamburger chain is a needy charity case, because without your and my generous tax support, the Big MacBosses in charge would have to pay a living wage to their 800,000-plus American workers. But, thanks to us, the $27 billion-a-year hamburger-flipping flim flammers can get away with paying poverty wages – then send their workforce to get food stamps, Medicaid, child welfare payments, public housing, and other tax-funded poverty benefits. This public subsidy of the Golden Arches adds up to a very golden $1.2 billion a year. What a creative business plan! Who says giant corporations aren't enterprising?

Well, sniff the chain's top executives, we operate on razor-thin profit margins, so we can't afford to throw money at workers. Really? Last year's $5.6 billion in profits doesn't sound thin to me. Also, note that McDonald's more than tripled the pay of its new CEO last year, elevating him from $4.1 million to $13.8 million.

But what really galls its workers (whose low wages and forced part-time schedules mean they average less than $12,000 a year) is that the taxpayer-subsidized profiteer laid out a fat $35 million in October to add a brand new executive jet to its corporate fleet. This one is a "Bombardier 605" with the full package of luxurious amenities, and it cost $2,500 an hour to fly it.

Just flying one hour on the Bombardier cost more than the combined hourly wages of more than 300 McDonald's workers. Remember, you're subsidizing this. To tell the chain's CEO that this is immoral, go to

"McDonald’s Wants Another Corporate Jet, Not Raises For Low Wage Workers,", October 24, 2013.

"Tell McDonalds to Stop Buying Luxury Jets Until They Pay Workers a Living Wage,", October 2013.

"Supersize Those Wages, McDonald's,", August 13, 2013.

"The rebellion of restaurant workers is challenging the deplorable low-wage ethic of the fast-food behemoths", November 2013.

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