The Wage Of Wages

It seems that workers at McDonald’s all over the country are taking up the picket line to demand better pay. This story is becoming more common with each passing day. More stories about workers who, despite full time employment, still struggle to keep food on the table. Wal-Mart employees forced to apply for food stamps regardless of the fact that they earn a paycheck. Meanwhile at the other end of the spectrum, the corporate entities of these companies are wallowing around in money like pigs in mud. The CEO of McDonald’s was gracious enough to reward himself for all his hard work by tripling his own salary, which now stands at over 13 million dollars. The bottom line is corporate profits have been rising steadily for some time now (and if you need proof, read this: and as they rise, so does executive pay. The only thing that hasn’t gone up has been the hourly wages of the workers. The people who actually go in every day and generate those dollars have been totally shut out of this windfall. Companies claim they can’t raise pay because in order to do that, they would have to raise prices on the consumers. Nice maneuver. Turn the customer against the worker, but the reality is their claim of having to raise prices is a bluff. They have an equivalent of a 16 dollar minimum wage in Australia and yes, prices for some things did go up, but only by a couple of cents. And if you haven’t noticed, McDonald’s is raising their prices on their items anyway. The reality is that the name of the game isn’t making a profit, it’s how much profit is made. They don’t want to pay their workers more because if they did, they wouldn’t make AS MUCH of a profit. They wouldn’t be able to afford to give their army of VPs those generous pay bumps. Of course, the people they really need to make happy are their workers. Those people are the face of their company. Those are the people they want coming into work eager to do a good job. Happy workers like their jobs and when they like their jobs, profits go up, but when they get paid crap, you get them trudging into work with little to no incentive to do well. They get there and it’s simply a matter of waiting out the clock. Those are the employees who end up blowing their noses into your burger or salad. (It’s true. This happens.)

As business owners, these CEO’s should be more interested in improving the morale of their workforce and creating an environment where the employees feel they have a future with the company. They need to be willing to take a cut in profits for the sake of growing the corporation. I mean, 13 million a year? You mean to tell me you couldn’t slide a million or two out of that and fatten your worker’s paychecks? You absolutely need every penny of that 13 million dollars? If so, think about the workers who make less than 20,000 a year. Imagine trying to get by on that. The more I think about this, the more disgusted I get. The blind greed is obscene. I’d be happy to back to the days when I still made my $10/hr paycheck. If I could just get one year of a CEO’s pay, I’d  probably never have to work another day in my life. So many of those in that mythical world of million dollar pay days seem to have lost complete touch with reality. They don’t remember what it’s like to be a real person having to deal with bills and the every growing expenses of everyday life. They get caught up in their world of mansions and private jets. For once, especially at this time of year, you would hope that some of them would be able to open their hearts  and value the welfare of their employees above their checkbooks. You guys have enough money! Honestly! You do. You can spare a bit for the people who keep your business running day in and day out.