Tuesday March 18th, Chicago, Illinois:
On our first morning on the journey, we went to see a street rally protest against McDonald’s on West Chicago Avenue. Around 30 workers turned up to shout out their frustration against the multi billion dollar cooperation.
One young woman stood out:
“My wage is 8,36 dollar per hour. I am not even close to be able to pay my bills, buy food and live a deasant life. People are angry. They’re frustrated. We need to take this fight. McDonald’s earned five billion dollars last year. Five billion! With a B. And I need to get food stamps to survive. It’s not right. It’s not fair.”
Says Rose Thompson. She is 25 years old and live together with her one year old daughter Alyah and her husband Josh in a 64 square feet (6 square meter) little room in a brickstone house in West Chicago. We followed her througout the day.
Last week a coalition of workers in Michigan, California and New York filed class-action lawsuits against McDonald’s. The suits allege that McDonald’s has forced employees to work off the clock, not paid them overtime and struck hours off their time cards.
“I have dreams. I would like to be a doctor. I would like to go to school. I would like to buy us a house for my daughter and my family. But how can I live the American Dream when all my energy is sucked up by the everyday struggle to feed my daughter?”
We are standing outside the house that is owned by Rose’s great grandmother Beatrice. The 87 old woman is still working as a cleaner to be able to keep her house where a total of twelve family members and two dogs lives.
“My great grandmother, my grandmother, my mother, we have all have been fighting to survive. And we will. But when you’re born into poverty, I will put it this way: We really never had a chanche…”
To be continued. More on Rose and her fight later on in the project…