Maria Ferdandes used to dream of being a beautician, but she didn’t have the money for tuition. She dreamed of buying a house one day, too.
But dreams don’t pay the bills, so Maria worked 3 part-time jobs at 3 different Dunkin Donuts locations, earning $8.25/hour; the minimum wage in Jersey.
Maria died in her car, napping between shifts.
Reclined in the driver’s seat, wearing her Dunkin’ uniform, keys dangling from the ignition. That’s how EMR found her when they broke the window.
A tragic, horrible accident. The spare fuel she carried had leaked. She was 32.
One of her friends tells the story of the time Maria used her own money to buy a tent for a homeless man that hung around one of the Dunkin’ locations. The homeless man came to her funeral and cried with her family.
Worse than Broke…
The way Maria died might be unique, but the way she lived certainly was not. Working too many hours trying to make ends meet.
— According to Marketwatch, 66% of U.S. jobs pay less than $20 an hour, and 34.7 million families live in poverty.
It’s not getting better, either.
OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development) data says the U.S. poverty rate is the highest in the developed world. Of 19 OECD nations, the USA has the highest rate of income disparity and poverty, other than Mexico and Turkey.
Income inequality (in terms of workers earning less than half the median) is worse in the US than almost anywhere else in the developed world
The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.
Why is that?
After Maria died, the New York Wage Board publicly recommended that fast-food workers in New York should make $15 per hour.
Dunkin Donuts CEO, Nigel Travis, who earns 10 million, appeared on CNN and decried a $15 minimum wage as “absolutely outrageous.”
A man making almost $5000/hour doesn’t think workers deserve $15/hour? Outrageous, indeed.
Once salaries became public, the media started to run stories ranking CEOs by pay. Today, the average CEO earns 369x the median salary. Now, what workers earn in a year, the CEO earns in a day.
For the doubters among us…
WALMART CEO Doug McMillon earned $22.8 million last year, which is about $10,000/hour. Average Walmart workers get paid $10/hour.
KROGER CO. CEO Rodney McMullen earns 11.2 million per year, which is $5,366.55/hour. Workers make $10/hour.
COSTCO President/CEO Craig Jelinek made $6.6 million, which is $2,500/hour. Workers get $13/hour.
I could keep going, but you’re not dumb and you don’t need me to.
It’s not better at any of the other top retailers.
Those people are not my role models…
I don’t care what time they wake up. I don’t care what they do in the morning. I don’t care if they meditate or journal. I don’t care, and you tell me so much about yourself when you laud those rich white men as your role models.
Those “successful” people might be successful at exploiting people for profit, but they’re an epic failure at being a compassionate human being.
I believe we need to be careful who we look up to. You know what they teach you in driver’s ed — you go where you’re looking. Life works that way, too.
Show me someone who has achieved success without stepping on anyone else along the way — then we’ll talk.
Kindness is a language the deaf can hear and the blind can see. — Mark Twain