A Cedar Rapids McDonald’s worker is featured in a new campaign ad for Bernie Sanders. In it, the senator encourages the fast food chain to set a $15/hour minimum wage and to negotiate with a union.
“The fight at McDonald’s is a fight for millions of working-class people who are sick and tired of working longer hours for lower wages,” Sanders says in the ad. “They are sick and tired of not being able to afford rent, or healthcare, or child care for their children. Today, we say as loudly and clearly as we can to McDonald’s: Pay your workers a living wage and negotiate with a union.”
Kelly Osborne, a 44-year-old single mother and grandmother who works at the McDonald’s on 1st Avenue in Cedar Rapids, is featured in the advertisement.
The cancer survivor raises her 5-year-old grandson on $8.25 an hour.
“It’s just not a living wage,” Osborn says in the ad. “I’m not making it.”
Iowa Starting Line first caught up with Osborn in June when she marched with Sanders to the Iowa Hall of Fame fund raiser.
“We are fighting for a $15 minimum wage and the availability to unionize all workers,” Osborne said at the march. “We should have a union to fight for our rights.”
Osborn has only worked at McDonald’s for a few months, but she’s worked in the fast food industry for several years.
During the advertisement for Sanders, Osborn explains that if she misses a paycheck, she would “literally become homeless.”
She also says she barely has enough money to put food on the table or buy necessities such as shoes after she pays rent for a small apartment where her grandson, Ryden, has to sleep in the living room.
“Iowa is a lot of working people — hard-working people,” Osborn says. “Farmers can’t make it. Regular people can’t make it. We’re just struggling. The whole state is.”
She says she wants Ryden, who is partially autistic, to grow up and get a job with union rights and $15 an hour “so he can survive.”
“I work 30 to 40 hours a week and I still can’t make ends meet,” Osborn says. “And we need to stop it, now. We need to make things better for everybody, now. Not in the future, now.”
by Paige Godden
Photo by Julie Fleming