HomeEconomic IssuesMcDonald’s Employees in Denmark Have a Union, are Paid $21/Hour, and Enjoy 5 Weeks Paid Vacation!

McDonald’s Employees in Denmark Have a Union, are Paid $21/Hour, and Enjoy 5 Weeks Paid Vacation!

Here in America there’s this ridiculous notion which has been thrown around since the advent of unionization in America that unions are vile evil despicable and selfish organizations that destroy the economy, wreck jobs, and force businesses to move overseas — to places like Denmark, for example.

Well, since we have McDonald’s in both Denmark and the United States there shouldn’t be a union in both places representing the rights of workers, right? How correct you are – in Opposite Land, that is!

In Denmark, the workers at McDonalds’ have a strong union that fights for their rights and you will not believe the amount of access they have to…..being treated like human beings.

The minimum wage for all workers over the age of 18 is $21/hr. For individuals under 18 that wage sinks to $15/hr – twice what adults in America make!

It is true that the cost of living in Denmark is higher than in the United States. So I guess that explains it…

Screenshot 2014-08-24 at 8.27.42 PM

Screenshot 2014-08-24 at 8.27.29 PM

Oh, I guess not…

Apparently, the cost of living is just about on par with that of the United States – so why is it the same corporation that can afford to pay their overseas employees who are protected by a union so well but complain about the company going under when we push for a higher minimum wage that would still be half what Denmark employees make?

McDonald’s made billions – yes, that’s billions with a “B” – in corporate profit last year. The world’s largest fast food company in the world has over 37,000 stores worldwide, 14,000 of which are locaterd here in the United States.

It’s not just that McDonald’s can afford to pay the minute amount of overseas employees more – they pay a lot of countries more in their minimum wage and still manage to pull a huge profit internationally. Doing so in America is not unfeasible as well.

Then a Big Mac must cost $25.00, right?

Wrong. A Big Mac in Denmark costs $8.25 compared to about $6 in Seattle, Washington and the “$1 menu” items are about $1.41.

There may be slight cost adjustments in the prices of their food items, but with a booming economy as one of the nation’s largest employers – 440,000 at last count – they would help push the economy into overdrive and bring back an ACTUAL end to the recession.

One only wonders why they don’t

McDonald’s did not merely just lay down and allow the workers in Denmark to unionize and receive the pay they rightfully deserve. No, they had to fight tooth and nail for every single entitlement that they earned. It took over five years of demonstrations, organizing, and even the average worker being in danger of losing their job.

That spirit of banding together has been lost in the DNA of America. There was a time when unions in America were strong. Workers stood side-by-side knowing full well that they may lose their source of income by standing up for their rights. Today, however they are viewed as nothing but commodities to be tossed aside should they not tow the corporate policy, assist in making billions in profit, while suffering as vagabonds and living in cyclical and endless poverty.

Food workers have never had any kind of strong union or backing. Fast food workers have it better than servers, who make a mere $2.13/hr thanks to the powerful restaurant lobbying industry, but that’s not to say they have it good at all. The average McDonald’s worker is not merely just a high school student transitioning to learn how to do work before going to college or entering the real world. The vast majority of McDonald’s employees are parents and full-time workers who need to provide for a family – but cannot due to the fact that over half their paycheck goes to rent.

It’s time to band together. It’s time to fight for your rights. What would Robin Hood do? Because we are ruled by the robber-barons of olde.

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h/t Reuters

About Paul Loebe

Paul Loebe
Paul Loebe is a Contributing Editor at Americans Against the Tea Party and also works as the Special Projects Manager at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. He is the former Military Director at American Atheists and has had his writings published in American Atheists Magazine, Secularite Magazine, Freethoughtblogs, Daily Kos, and Patheos.
  • Ted Grindstaff

    14,157 in the US and 86 in Denmark as of 2012. the real issue is in the US fast food is not a viable option for someone needing to support a family. It is a starter job for teenagers. Those that are able to excel in fast food get promoted and no-longer make starting wages. The moral of the story is get a skill or go to school so you can make more money…. I understand there are individual situations that cannot use my advise, that is why there is a social safety net. That safety net is for those that need it not for those too lazy to better themselves.

  • aspromised

    A well-functioning economy recognizes all workers are essential cogs that provide value. The service industry has rapidly become #1 employer in US, obviously it is essential, but we have no interest in honoring or rewarding the work they do. IRONY ALERT: every company pretends that high level of “customer service” is their platform.

  • Pingback: McDonald’s Employees in Denmark Have a Union, are Paid $21/Hour, and Enjoy 5 Weeks Paid Vacation « Economics Info()

  • Neil

    Paul, you cherry picked data from your own referenced source to show the cost of living being near identical when it’s not. DK also has high taxes on everyone (highest average % paid in the world I believe, 3rd highest max possible, and highest minimum possible rate after deductions) not mentioned which reduce take home pay drastically. Additionally your reference to DK workers fighting McD’s for these rights doesn’t seem to have a source and based on living in DK for years, and both the minimum wage and 5 weeks vacation being essentially laws(technically there is no minimum wage), I don’t believe this is true.

    Indices Difference
    Consumer Prices in Denmark are 44.65% higher than in United States
    Consumer Prices Including Rent in Denmark are 32.46% higher than in United States
    Rent Prices in Denmark are 5.60% higher than in United States
    Restaurant Prices in Denmark are 93.15% higher than in United States
    Groceries Prices in Denmark are 18.71% higher than in United States
    Local Purchasing Power in Denmark is 25.72% lower than in United States

    I was sent this article by a relative because I live in DK and have never been to this site before, but I see it’s an anti-tea-party blog of sorts. The concept of manipulating/omitting facts to make a point seems all to familiar when involving that group, so maybe it’s better to leave it to them and stick to honest reporting.

    • ActaNonVerba

      Glad to see I wasn’t the only one who noticed the discrepancy in the cost of living comparisons between the US and Denmark. It is kind of sad when someone people think that manipulating information or data to cherry pick points that support their views is some how viewed as tantamount to providing a convincing argument rather than a argument based on a demonstrably clear personal bias.

    • rubato

      Are you comparing prices as a whole? I live in a city and the prices in the article are about what you see here.

  • mynameisjohn

    Only 14,000 McD’s in the U.S. I honestly thought it would be more; I’ve got at least five within a two-mile radius of my house. In other news, BK wants to buy Tim Horton’s, because taxes.

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