A recent study showed that 52% of non-management fast food workers in the U.S. are receiving some sort of federal benefits to supplement their wages, and that McDonald’s employees alone account for an estimated $1.2 billion (with a “b”) in annual payouts. And when employees call the McDonald’s hotline for workers looking to improve their financial position, operators direct them to various welfare programs.
The folks at Low Pay Is Not OK, one of the campaigns seeking the ability to unionize fast food workers and increase their pay, has posted the above video of a 10-year McDonald’s vet (who earns $8.25/hour and has never received a raise) placing a call to the McResources hotline, which the company advertises to cash-strapped employees with statements like “Getting Help is Easy” and “Free help when you need it!”
The recording is admittedly edited by the video-makers, so we don’t know the full content of what the hotline operator said. However, it is clear from the call that the operator does suggest that the employee seek out food pantries, look into SNAP (food stamps), and Medicaid.
We can certainly understand, and even appreciate, that McDonald’s is making this information available to its employees. This is information that every employer should have at the ready for workers in need, but most businesses’ immediate reaction to an employee of 10 years asking for her first raise ever is not to tell her to find out whether she’s eligible for food stamps.