Nancy Salgado, 26, interrupted a speech by McDonald’s Corporation President Jeff Stratton at the Union League Club of Chicago on Friday, saying her wages weren’t enough for her to supply her kids with basic necessities like shoes.
“Do you think this is fair, that I have to be making $8.25 [per hour] when I’ve worked for McDonald’s for 10 years?” Salgado, who claimed never to have received a raise in that time, said at the gathering as Stratton stood at a podium.
“I’ve been there 40 years,” Stratton replied, the extent of his response to Salgado.
“The thing is that I need a raise. But you’re not helping your employees. How is this possible?” Salgado continued at Stratton. “To your employees you haven’t done anything.”
She and six other protesters were arrested and given tickets for trespassing.
The group was part of dozens of McDonald’s workers, supported by members of the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago, that attended the Union League Club event as part of the Fight for 15, a campaign that seeks a $15-an-hour wage for fast-food workers.
Salgado, single mother of children aged two and seven, is a cashier at a McDonald’s working 30 to 40 hours a week, she told The Real News. She has worked at her current McDonald’s position for 10 months, though says she’s worked at various McDonald’s restaurants since age 16.
“[Stratton] needs to know we are what all the employees at McDonald’s are going through,” she said Wednesday. “We’re struggling day-to-day to provide our needs in our houses, things for our kids. And it’s just–it gets harder and harder with just the poverty wage.”
Salgado said she was quickly approached by authorities at the event and told she would be arrested.
“I remember just telling them … because I have to speak out my mind and I had to tell the president the poverty wage I’m living in, that’s just against the law?” she told The Real News.
She said she expects her employer to take some kind of retaliatory action against her soon.
“There’s nothing going around [yet] that I know of. Would there be? I had some hours cut off,” she said. “Do I feel they’re going to do something against me? I do. You know. They haven’t done anything yet.”
A fair wage to Salgado would be around $15 an hour, she said.
“I love my job. I love interacting with customers. I love talking with them, even though, like, it means I’m harder, I’m broken, you know, because sometimes I can’t provide a gallon of milk in the fridge,” she said.
“It’s like the CEOs make billions and billions a year. Then why can’t they provide enough for their employees?”