Detroit McDonald’s employee David Williams sees a better life for himself and others through increased pay.
DETROIT—Detroit resident David Williams, 19, works at a McDonald’s in Detroit and makes $10.50 an hour. That equates to roughly $21,840 a year—and it’s not sustainable for the recent college graduate who has to live with his mother, and work a second job, to survive.
“I barely have personal time in the week,” Williams said of working more than 40 hours a week just to get by. His second job at a local Taco Bell pays about the same amount; he is also a manager there.
Williams, also a participant of Fight for $15, a global movement that began in 2012 when 200 hundred fast-food workers left their job to demand $15 an hour and union rights in New York City, according to their website. As of today, over 300 cities on six continents are involved to show solidarity and support to home health aides, child care teachers, airport workers, adjunct professors, retail employees – and underpaid workers everywhere, their website added.
“We can’t feed our families, pay our bills, or even keep a roof over our heads on minimum wage pay,” their website stated. “When we first took the streets, the skeptics called us dreamers. They said a $15 wage was ‘unwinnable.’ We didn’t listen. We organized and we fought for what we knew was right.”
Williams said that if the minimum wage, currently set to $9.45, was bumped up to $15 he could make a better life for himself, move out of his mother’s house and go down to one job.
‘We Can’t Feed Our Families’
“I would be able to maintain my own place without struggle because I did have my own place when I first turned 18,” Williams, who is an essential worker, said, adding that he was forced to move back in due to economic reasons. “With me working at McDonald’s I wasn’t able to afford rent, food and keeping everything. It was a lot—I couldn’t maintain it with my pay and the hours I was getting.”
Williams said that he tells others what Fight for $15 is all about and encourages them to join the “good cause.”
He added that in addition to fighting for a higher minimum wage, he is making his voice heard at the polls.
“My vote is essential and everyone’s is too,” he said. “I encourage everybody to vote, get out here and fight for what is right.”
Williams added that he is voting for “who is fighting with me.”
“Whoever is fighting for 15 that is who I’m fighting for,” he said.
Although Williams did not disclose who he was voting for, his choice was made obvious.
Presidential nominee Joe Biden has a plan that includes doubling the current minimum wage to $15 an hour.
“Fifteen dollars should be a minimum wage in the United States of America. Period,” Biden said.
In 2019, President Donald Trump said that he was open to a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour, but then opposed House legislation that raised the rate.
Biden Would Make The Minimum Wage Difference if Elected
Biden’s economic plans include raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, the expansion of health insurance access, and investing billions of dollars in childcare, early childhood education, and college tuition assistance, according to www.wwlp.com.
Biden’s plan ensures that “all workers have access to quality, affordable health care.”
As vice president, Biden was able to increase the federal minimum wage to $15. He also helped get state and local laws increasing the minimum wage “across the finish line”–including in New York State—and he’s supported eliminating the tipped minimum wage.
“The most important fact about the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour; It isn’t livable no matter where you reside,” Biden said in a Wall Street Journal report.
Biden recognizes that workers experience “huge losses in salary caused” by other forms of wage theft, including employers not paying overtime, forcing off-the-clock work, and “misclassifying workers,” his plan details. Coupled with large companies “raking in billions of dollars in profits and paying CEOs tens and hundreds of millions of dollars” something’s got to change, Biden strongly feels.
Essential Workers Like Williams Deserve More
Essential workers like Williams are people on the frontlines who do the food preparation, farming, healthcare, sales, transportation and more, and according to epi.org women make up 76 percent of essential workers in health care, while men make up 96 percent in the energy sector.
People of color make up 50 percent of essential workers in food and agriculture; and in industrial they make up 53 percent for residential facilities and services, epi.org reported.
Biden also notes that employers “repeatedly interfere” with workers and their efforts to organize and collectively bargain.
“Corporations fire pro-union workers in one of every three union campaigns and about half of corporations threaten to retaliate against workers during union campaigns,” his plan states, adding that Biden will ensure employers respect workers’ rights.
In his plan, he will hold corporations and executives “personally accountable” for interfering with organizing efforts and violating other labor laws. He will also look for employers who violate labor laws, participate in wage theft, or cheat on their taxes by intentionally misclassifying employees as independent contractors, according to his plan.