McDonald's Tells Employees How to Live Well On Two Full-time Minimum Wage Jobs

July 20, 2013
vegan mcdonald's sample monthly budget before

Sample monthly budget – first version

Vegans have long condemned McDonald’s for its heinous treatment of animals. And now we can add its heinous treatment of humans to the long list of reasons to hate Mickey D’s. Recently, McDonald’s partnered with Visa to create a new budget planning site for its employees, where they posted a sample monthly budget for their employees who make roughly $7.25 an hour (the federal minimum wage).

Notice here that $1,105 is what an employee would take home after working 40 hours per week. But the nice people at McDonald’s think that their employees would be holding down a second, nearly full-time job, earning an extra $955 a month. That would mean almost 80 hour weeks–or 12 hour days, 7 days a week–for these employees to make living wages, according to their own employer. Then they proceed to breakdown the spending in most out-of-touch fashion possible. I’m not going to argue about $600 rent, which others have pointed out is unrealistic: there are areas in the U.S. with far lower housing costs than New York, where I live. But in these places it also costs a lot of money to get around places, and McDonald’s lists no cost for gas, which can be $50-100 a week. They list zero cost for heating, and somehow a $20 month health insurance. Then they come up with a daily spending money of $27, which presumably will cover the day’s groceries, gas, clothing, personal maintenance, and household items.

This budget drew outrage from all over the web as soon as the news broke, and instead of withdrawing the website immediately to block any further mocking, the executives at McDonald’s quietly slipped in a revised sample budget, addressing a sliver of the criticism. On the new budget list, they add $50 heating cost to monthly expenses, bringing the daily spending goal to $25. Wow! So in touch, these people! (That was pure sarcasm, if you are reading this, Mickey D.)

Now, get this–back in April, it was revealed that McDonald’s more than tripled the pay packages of its new CEO, Don Thompson, and his predecessor, Jim Skinner. In 2012, Thompson received $13.8 million, up from $4.1 million in 2011. And exiting CEO Skinner received $27.7 million in 2012, of which $10.2 million was the retirement compensation. Yes, a cool $10 million for just stopping work. And, if you assume an yearly gross income (pre-tax) of $19,000 for a minimum wage worker (working 2 full time jobs, mind you), that means the CEO Don Thompson makes more than 726 times one of his employees.

vegan mcdonald's sample monthly budget after

Sample monthly budget- after

There is no moral justification for one head of an evil multinational food corporation to be making 726 times his minimum wage employees, then to turn the table and lecture them on how they could be more frugal and financially responsible. These executives who live in their 1% bubble (and who, I’m sure, would never eat at McDonald’s) epitomize the shamelessness, hubris, and greed that plague corporate America, damaging both our economy and social well being. Non-vegans, please join us vegans in boycotting McDonald’s–and vegans, let’s keep doing what we do best–not eating at McDonald’s.






Juhea is the founder and editor of Peaceful Dumpling and the author of bestselling novel Beasts of a Little Land. Follow Juhea on Instagram @peacefuldumpling, @juhea_writes and Pinterest.


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