Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. Billionaires laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit, independent journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work producing journalism for the common good. With our Fall Campaign underway, please support this mission today. We cannot do it without you.

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

Labor activists hold a rally in support of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour on the National Mall on May 19, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Members of the Service Employee International Union (SEIU) organized the rally in support of striking McDonald's workers who are demanding a wage increase. (Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez Join McDonald's Workers to Demand a $15 Minimum Wage Amid Nationwide Strike

"When working people stand together, they cannot be defeated."

Julia Conley

Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined McDonald's employees via a livestream on Wednesday as workers across the U.S. staged a strike to protest what Sanders called "starvation wages" at one of the world's largest fast food chains.

Workers at McDonald's stores in 15 cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, Kansas City, and Detroit organized "Walkout Wednesday" with the national advocacy group Fight for $15. In addition to the strike, public actions are taking place in dozens of cities and workers and supporters rallying outside McDonald's corporate headquarters in Chicago ahead of the company's annual shareholder's meeting. 

"When working people stand together, they cannot be defeated," Sanders told Business Insider on Tuesday. "I'm proud to join courageous workers who are taking on corporate greed and demanding dignity on the job."

The strike comes a month after McDonald's announced it would raise its minimum wages at corporate-owned stores, affecting only 5% of its restaurants in the U.S. where entry-level workers on average make $11 per hour while shift managers make $15 per hour.

"If you want to look like you're raising your wages to $15 per hour then you should actually raise them to $15 per hour for every McDonald's worker in this country, minimum," said Ocasio-Cortez in a live video broadcast on social media Wednesday as the workers walked out. "The U.S. Congress is not being tricked or duped into thinking they've raised the wage."

Watch the livestream of Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders, and other advocates speaking about the need for a living wage for all workers:

"Tomorrow will be the shareholders' meeting where a bunch of millionaires come together to discuss how they'll distribute their profit," said Nashon Blount, an employee based in Durham, North Carolina. "We're here to let you know today, McDonald's, we are your profit. We are the ones who make the burgers, make the fries and everything inside the store, so it is not right that we get paid so little."

A spokesperson for McDonald's told Business Insider Tuesday that "it's the responsibility of federal and local government to set minimum wage," drawing rebukes from the Fight for $15 movement and workers.

"McDonald's doesn't have to wait for Congress to pass $15," said Fight for $15. "Even in 2020, the height of the recession, the company pulled in nearly $5 billion in profit and paid out billions to shareholders. No employer needs to wait for Congress to raise the minimum wage to pay fairly."

As the employees went on strike, Sanders shared a video on social media detailing fast food workers' years-long leadership in pushing for a higher federal minimum wage. 

Other progressive advocates expressed their support for Walkout Wednesday on social media.

In the livestreamed event, Ocasio-Cortez credited grassroots organizers with continuing to push for fair wages and pressuring lawmakers to ensure legislation raising the minimum wage is passed.

"Without your strikes, without your organizing, without you speaking up and doing what you're doing today, we cannot push for it," said Ocasio-Cortez. "It is because you are out there mobilizing that we can point to that organizing and say, this is how bad the people want it. This is what they are in fact demanding."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

New York Taxi Workers Stage Hunger Strike to Demand Medallion Debt Relief

"They are an essential industry here in New York City," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, "and we need to make sure we're doing right by them."

Julia Conley ·

'It's Not Coming Out': Bernie Sanders Stands Firm on Medicare Expansion

"It's what the American people want and, after waiting over 50 years, what they are going to get."

Julia Conley ·

'When We Organize, We Win': Ocasio-Cortez Joins India Walton at Rally in Buffalo

The two progressives joined striking hospital workers on the picket line at Mercy Hospital after the early voting rally.

Julia Conley ·

Fatal Film Set Shooting Followed Outcry by Union Crew Members Over Safety Protocols

"When union members walk off a set about safety concerns, maybe 'hiring scabs' isn’t the solution you think it is."

Julia Conley ·

New Whistleblower Sparks Calls to 'Crack Down on Facebook and All Big Tech Companies'

Hours after another ex-employee filed a formal complaint, reporting broke on internal documents that show the tech giant's failure to address concerns about content related to the 2020 U.S. election.

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo