Economy

I Am A McDonald's Worker. Here Is A Day in My Life...

December 4th 2014

By:
ATTN: Staff

Albina Ardon

Born in El Salvador and living with her husband and two children in Los Angeles, Albina Ardon, 27, has worked at McDonald's for 10 years. She's been a strong advocate for workers' rights, having traveled to East Asia to meet with workers, legislators, and community leaders to explain the Fight for 15. She recently attended the convention for fast food workers in Chicago.

Albina stepped away from today's rally in downtown Los Angeles to tell us her story.

What do you do at McDonald's?

My husband and I work at the same McDonald's. I am a cashier at the front or at the drive thru. My husband works in the kitchen.

How much do you make? 

Together, we make almost $900-a-month with his check and my check

How hard is it to live on your current salary?

It's really hard. We get paid on the 20th of the month. I have $100 left right now for the next two weeks until the 20th. And I hope I can still get Christmas presents from my little girl and boy. Our only government help is food stamps. My last raise was more than a year ago. 

I think it's unfair that my boss lives in rich neighborhoods, and we don't have food for our families. Most of the people that we work with are like us. They don't have money. I always tell my co-workers that we should do whatever we have to do to fight for better lives for our families. You can't complain about how you live when you don't want to do anything about it.

LA McDonald's Strike 12/4

What's it like to work at McDonald's?

Sometimes it's like working two jobs, but only getting paid for one. They send people home early because they don't want to pay for extra hours when it's slow so I have to take orders and also bring the orders to the customers. I get really upset, but there's nothing I can do. I need the money.

Some customers can be really mean to employees. I think they forget that we are working because we need the money to feed our families and pay the rent. But some customers understand. After our last strike, some people told us that they would pay more for their food if we could make $18-an-hour. That was really great to hear.

How many hours a week do you work?

My hours are unpredictable. I am supposed to work from 2pm to 10pm, but, if I'm lucky, I'll get to work 6 hours. Sometimes I'm only given 5 hours. I've asked for more hours, but they say they can't because business is slow.

LA McDonald's Strike 12/4 2

Do you get health insurance?

No. I don't get anything from McDonald's. I use Medicaid for my family and me.

How can you pay for transportation to work?

If I have money for gas, I'll drive. I live about a 10-15 minute drive away. If I don't have enough money for gas, I'll walk, and it's about 25 minutes to walk to work.

What do your bosses say about this strike?

They tell us we are losing work time. Sometimes they laugh about us, saying like, "I hope you guys get $18-an-hour," but they don't take it seriously. They look at it is a joke.

What message do you want to get across today?

I want to tell McDonald's that it should stop treating us badly. We're all humans, and we all deserve to live better than this. I've gone on strike four times so far.

Do you have any advice to workers who are in a similar situation?

Speak up. Don't be afraid to go out and tell you story. I'm not the only one -- most of at McDonald's really struggle. We don't have enough money to buy food. We don't have enough money to apply for a house. If we don't fight, no one else is going to do it for us.

What do you want to see happen?

I want to see wages go up at McDonald's. I also want to have a full career where I can show my kids that if they fight, they can win.