While the debate rages on about raising the national minimum wage to something above poverty levels and allowing millions of Americans who work full-time – and yet still depend on government subsidies and handouts – to thrive and raise families, there are at least 11 celebrities who should absolutely support a national minimum wage raise who have yet to speak up.
So what exactly do D.L. Hughley, Seal, Macy Gray, Rachel McAdams, Sharon Stone, Shania Twain, Andie Macdowell, Jay Leno, James Franco, Pink, and Star Jones all have in common with the national minimum wage debate? They have all proudly come out as former employees of McDonalds – one America’s largest benefactors of the food stamp program which they rely on to pay their employees poverty level wages.
Take for instance the case of Nancy Salgado that AATTP covered in 2013 that exposed the advice that the McDonald’s employee hotline was giving out to full-time employees having financial problems because of their low wages:
[box type=”shadow”]In the battle for dignity and a living wage there is a new development stirring. A Chicago McDonalds’ employee, Nancy Salgado, recorded her phone call to something called the McResources hotline. This is a line set up by McDonald’s to help its employees.
Ms. Salgado has been working full-time at McDonald’s for ten years but continues to only make her statewide minimum wage of $8.25 an hour and had questions for the counselor on the other end of the line. The ensuing conversation with the McResources counselor concluded with Nancy being encouraged not only to apply for food stamps, but also to apply for Medicaid.
Once again: she was told that based on her pay she would definitely qualify for SNAP (food stamp) benefits and might also qualify for free medical insurance through Medicaid.[/box]
While no reasonable person would begrudge Jay Leno for making it big on the Tonight Show, decry Pink for all the success she has had in her musical career, or bemoan any of the 11 celebs who have proudly touted McDonald’s as a past employer for their good fortune, we can and should ask them to not only encourage McDonald’s to pay their employees a livable wage, but for the national minimum wage to be raised to a sustainable level.
Having lived off of minimum wage themselves, and understanding the difficulties and sacrifices needed to survive being paid the absolutely lowest amount legally allowed, projections like the ones from the University of Amherst showing the incredible impact of a national minimum wage of $10.10 per hour should be motivating enough:
[box type=”shadow”]Given the roughly 275 million non-elderly Americans in 2013, the proposed minimum wage increase is projected to reduce the number of non-elderly living in poverty by around 4.6 million, or by 6.8 million when longer term effects are accounted for.[/box]
Who needs another Golden Globe, Oscar, Grammy or Emmy on a shelf when you could boast helping to lift between 4.6 to 6.8 million Americans out of poverty simply by lending your name to a worthy cause?
So what do you say, Macy Gray? What do you think, Pink? Feeling it in your bones, Star Jones?
There’s millions of hardworking Americans in the exact same jobs these 11 celebs were in before, and all it will take is for one of them to hold McDonald’s feet to the grill and encourage them pay their employees a sustainable wage to help further the cause of millions Americans busting their asses every day to try and make it through the week or the month with dignity and peace of mind.