Issue 1 December 2000
For workers' power, international solidarity, and less than hilarious jokes about Ronald McDonald.
Issue no. 1, dedicated to Mark Hopkins, killed by electrocution in the backroom of Arndale McDonalds, Manchester, October the 12th, 1992
"I bongo the monkey every morning!!"
admitted a senior McDonalds employee last night. Pressed on the issue he added: "yeah, waddle the penguin, call it what you like, it makes your day, well it sure keeps me satisfied till lunch time". The unprecedented outburst has been described by government officials as "deeply misguided", coming just hours after Spunky the Cocker Spaniel reported being sexually assaulted by a creepy clown. Police say they are looking for a man of medium build, wearing bright yellow breeches, stripy leggings and lots of makeup and with a deranged smile slapped across his face.
So, what’s this? This is McSues, it’s produced by the McDonalds employees who form the Glasgow branch of McDonalds Workers Resistance (MWR), and it aims to provide an alternative to that indoctrinating shite McNews. Where the resistance is not yet established, circulation is dependent on individuals (you!) making it available to as many work-mates as possible and especially to all new starts (please be careful). We desperately need contact addresses for other resistance groups (however small) and individuals who might be able to circulate future editions in their store (all correspondence is treated in confidence).
So what’s McDonalds Workers Resistance? MWR, run entirely by McDonalds employees, is a combination of several, previously isolated, pockets of resistance that have united in an attempt to create serious opposition to the company. There is no official membership and no dues (is that not a bit racialist?) so please (dis)organise your store and take the initiative in spreading the resistance. Please get in touch with us (address at back) and we can exchange ideas/ experiences, plan action or just arrange to send you copies of future editions of McSues. MWR has no links with any political party or trade union baron, and is completely self funded. While we gratefully acknowledge the assistance provided by several other autonomous groups, we remain independent and committed to uniting McDonalds workers in the struggle against an exploitative company.
"I brainwashed youngsters into doing wrong. I want to say sorry to children everywhere for selling out to concerns who make millions by murdering animals" -Geoffrey Guiliano, the main Ronald McDonald actor in the 1980s.
COMPETITION! (best answer wins a fondue set.) WHY ARE EXTERNAL SALARIED MANAGERS SO FUCKING STUPID? Answers on a postcard to: M.W.R., PO Box: 3828, GLASGOW, G41 1YU
Ronald McDonald is a Fucking Tart!
Anyone who has had the frustrating experience of watching Ronald McDonald pratt about on wrap and call will know that he is an obnoxious wanker but here are ten unconfirmed rumours you may not have heard about everyone’s favourite clown:
1. Ronald McDonald is a fucking tart.
2. Ronald makes his wife and kid wait outside in the car while he does a show.
3. Ronald peeks through children’s windows at night time.
4. Underneath his makeup Ronald has a face like a derby runner and teeth like a row of condemned houses.
5. Ronald may have been responsible for the Glencoe massacre.
6. Ronald washes his genitals with shortening.
7. Ronald had a love child with Barry Gibb.
8. Ronald bongos the monkey.
10. That’s it.
Ye old song of struggle
Old McDonald had a farm, Oh my fucking word. And on that farm he had some cows; A really mangy herd.
And he plundered here and he plundered there, Here, there, every fucking where,
Old McDonald fed his cows, With diseased sheep’s brains. And in France they even used Excrement from drains.
Old McDonald slapped his cows, On some shitty bread. And when he ran out of cows, Used half a rat instead.
Old McDonald shagged a sheep, Or so I’ve been told, But he still cut it up, And had the fucker sold.
Old McDonald spends Billions, Broadcasting his views, And if anyone disagrees, Then the fucker sues.
Old McDonald’s up shit creek, `Cos we’re fighting back, And if he hears of our plans, We will get the sack.
Old McDonald’s very weak, When we all unite, So lets get together now, And join the workers fight.
Why Fight McDonalds?
The most obvious reason is that they make huge amounts of money from our hard work. If the company makes $3 Billion profit a year, and we’re on the minimum wage, it doesn’t take a genius to see that they are taking the piss out of us big time. Add to that unsociable hours, the company’s bollocks propaganda, that fucking clown (not Nigel Dunningham, the other one), never finishing when you’re meant to and then being told to fucking smile, and it is no wonder we’re a bunch of degenerate alcoholics. Of course there are other reasons to hate the bastards, like how they use land in poor countries at the expense of local food needs, or rear beef where once stood rainforests, but the best way we can help the environment or the exploited abroad is to fight for our own rights in our own towns. There are many other disgusting companies but McDonalds is a bit special; it has become a symbol for capitalism, exploitation and American world domination. If workers can take on McDonalds (and we can) then none of the bosses are safe. We have the potential to be an inspiration, not just to all McDonalds workers, but to low-paid employees the world over. Our resistance shall be as global as their business!
"It was not her sex appeal but the obvious relish with which she devoured the hamburger that made my pulse begin to hammer with excitement" -Ray Kroc, McDonalds founder (and sad bastard) in his autobiography.
How We Can Fight Back…
Work-To-Rule: Bizarrely enough, one of the best weapons at our disposal is to follow every procedure exactly. The company has developed procedures for controlling quality and hygiene that are incompatible with the labour costs they expect and the speed of production/ service they require. So in kitchen, we do everything right, and soon there’s no food in the bin. "Hustle, hustle" they’ll say, "hustle is the efficiency gained through the safe and effective use of the three Cs, it does not involve running or rushing", we reply. Eventually they have to take people off front and put them in kitchen, less people are served, and they lose money. Soon they realise that it is cheaper to give us what we want than to keep losing custom. Simple, right? What we win could just be large fries on our break, but in a couple of weeks we do it again, and all the time we are exercising our power, increasing our unity and realising our potential to win anything we want.
Go Slow: Like the work-to-rule only you do everything at the pace of a constipated man who has dumped down with a good book.
Be Stupid: This one comes naturally to me, but you know the shit, you all pretend to be salaried.
Fuck The Food Costs: Lettuce and cheese are quite expensive so don’t be shy with the condiments and its Big Cahoona burgers all round.
Local Strike: This is dangerous but we’ve done it in the past.
(Inter)National Strike: This is still a bit ambitious but I have a dream ..
Sabotage: Unplug equipment, misplace things, short circuit the grills, lose that bit of the breakfast cabinet, oh the possibilities.
Insubordination: "Go on fries", "nu", easy enough, yeah?
Steal, Steal, Steal: Happy toys make an easy target, I mean if we weren’t commy bastards we’d be doing a nice sideline punting them.
Have Fun: Joke and laugh your way through a shift, turn their dehumanising workplace into a creative site of resistance, then all go and get minging.
Theft is a big problem in McDonalds. For example, in Britain "mistakes" in paying workers for double time days over the last festive season must have cost us mugs thousands of pounds. ALWAYS KEEP A RECORD OF THE HOURS YOU HAVE WORKED AND NEVER TRUST THE BASTARDS TO PAY YOU WHAT YOU’RE DUE. On a different note, it seems some workers in Britain have decided to enforce a minimum wage of £6 an hour by helping themselves to the difference. Apparently, when a customer asks for a meal they have been entering the single sandwich on their tills, the customers don’t quibble the price which appears as they know how much the meal costs (tourists and OAPs are an exception here) and the employees have been pocketing (socking) the difference, or over changing friends. Also, some employees have been keeping a few pennies lying about and if someone offers £3 for a meal, they aren’t using the till at all (they sometimes don’t know what to do with the coins but). Some employees claim to be making £30 a shift this way. As one of these scamps said "I don’t steal off customers unless they look like they can afford it, but I steal from McDonalds all the time. They think their obsession with T-Reds will stop us, will it fuck- nothing can stop us!" Disgraceful.
(un)Happy Toy Makers
Most happy meal toys are made in Chinese factories where working conditions make McDonalds restaurants look pleasant. In 1992, 23 workers at the Chi Wah toy factory were hospitalised through benzene poisoning and 3 died. In 1997, 220 workers at Keyhinge toys became seriously ill with acetone poisoning and overwork (unsurprising giving acetone levels were 84 times the recommended US exposure limit, and in Chinese toy factories, work is an average 14-15 hours a day with no day off). In the same year some workers were earning as little as 5p an hour. In court in 1994, Paul Preston (UK McDonalds President) said he did not consider £3.10 an hour to be low pay, before refusing to reveal his own enormous salary. What about 5p an hour Paul, is that low pay? We hear a lot about the stress of senior management and I have some sympathy; it can’t be nice going to bed every night knowing your wealth is built on murder and exploitation.
"There have been several recent instances in our restaurants where members of staff have received severe shocks from faulty items of electrical equipment." -McDonalds internal memo from Northwest Region, February 1992 (just 8 months before Mark Hopkins was killed by electrocution at a store in Manchester).
In a sycophantic attempt to aid training we have reproduced some of the OCL questions employees most frequently get wrong, together with the correct answers:
1. In the event of a fire, who leaves first? Who ever is nearest the door.
2. Why must nail varnish or jewellery not be worn? It might allow you some individuality.
3. Why should you always wear a glove when handling raw meat patties? The food is fucking poisonous and this is an attempt to reduce the death toll (it’s bad for business).
4. What would you do if you discovered a fire? Laugh loudly and hide the petrol.
5. Why should you not bend your back when lifting? Ronald McDonald is not interested in consent.
6. What action would you take if you saw a hypodermic needle in the D.A.? Keep it more securely in the future.
7. Give three examples of tripping hazards in the kitchen? They make this too easy.
8. What must you do if a customer hands you a note of high value? Thank them and try to get your break soon.
9. How can you make a child’s visit a happy one? Keep them away from Ronald and warn them never to set foot in the place again.
10. What is the procedure for high denomination notes? Same as all the others- in your sock.
The Workers united and that.
We all enjoy a laugh at the senior management but although these pricks occasionally provide an amusing distraction from the monotony of our jobs, when we start fighting back they can get quite scary. Example? Well in France, crew member Hassen Lamti, a trade union activist, was unsuccessfully framed for armed robbery! Before McDonalds offered him a bribe to renounce the union! (please send offers to the usual address) He kept fighting and the now established union branch has won numerous court judgements against the company to stop harassment and illegal business practices. A 16-year-old crew member, Sarah Inglis, encouraged the majority of workers at her store in Canada to join a union, so the company launched a nationally controversial, and fucking bizarre, anti-union campaign. This included intimidating pro-union staff, getting workers to lie outside in the snow, in the shape of a "no" (to unions)! And an "anti-union slide show"? The mind boggles. Going back a while (1986) in Madrid, 4 workers who called for union elections were sacked but had to be reinstated when court ruled the dismissals illegal (ha, ha). A year earlier, in Ireland, two union activists were sacked but had to be reinstated when court ruled the dismissals illegal (ha, ha). In the same year, this is a good one, union activists in Mexico seized and occupied a McDonalds for 3 weeks and won union rights in Mexican McDonalds that still exist today. That’s the way to do it! But our favourite McDonalds/ union story took place in Detroit way back in 1980. Workers at one store joined a union, so McDonalds organised a visit by a top baseball star, a staff disco and, wait for it, a "McBingo night". So join a trade union and you’ll get that long overdue crew night out.
"unions are inimical to what we stand for and how we operate. They peddle the line to their members that the boss will be forever more against their interests". Aye. -John Cooke, employed by McDonalds "to keep the unions out". "They (crew members) have no guaranteed employment rights. They do not have guaranteed employment or guaranteed conditions of employment" -Ronald Beavers, McDonalds US senior vice-president, 1995
It's your letters
Dear MWR, A group that campaigns for workers’ rights is potentially quite important for good people practices, but the way you are going about this is really quite counter-productive. It is most probably not any of my business anyway, as I am dating a first assistant so am presumably part of your "class enemy" or some such similar nonsense. I think that.. whine, whine etc. FM, Newcastle. MWR replies: not at all there’s nothing wrong with fucking Management it makes a change from them fucking us. Sorry we had to edit your letter but you are a boring scab.
Dear MWR, I was encouraged a lot by the news of the resistance. I am working hard to tell people here of you. In the past some stores in France have achieved union rights and who is able to say what can happen in the future? Many of us here are very excited about our possibilities. Vive la resistance! JFL, Marseilles. MWR replies: Nice one Franco!
Pissed bloke on Quarters
One day our store collapsed and all that was left was a big fuck off pile of rubble. The rescue folk turned up and started searching for survivors and soon everyone was accounted for except one salaried manager. They could hear her shouting through the rubble, so they called "Where are you?", and she replied "In the office".
This one’s true, right. Bloke walks into our store, sits down with his mates then comes up to the counter. "May I help you please" says the salaried who had strayed out of the office and forgotten the way back. "Aye" says the guy "I’m after a wager. I’ll bet you 200 quid that I can stand 3 metres away from that regular cup, piss in it and not spill a drop". The manager doesn’t hesitate, it looks impossible. So the guy whaps his dick out and precedes to piss all over the counter, all over the floor, all over the fucking manager, the roof, in fact, he’s pissing everywhere except the fucking cup. When he finally finishes the manager asks for his money. The guy says he’ll just be a minute and goes back over to his mates. A minute later he comes back with a big grin on his face and hands over £200. "Just one question" says the manager, "You’ve just lost £200, so what are you so fucking happy about?". The guy laughs again and says "well I just bet my mate £500 that I could piss on your counter, piss on your food and piss on you, and not only would you not throw me out but you would actually be happy about it". I’m telling you that’s the way it happened.
Message to the workers.
We work for a company that has an annual turnover of $30 Billion, but whose business depends on $2 Billion dollars a year spent on a fucking clown. They make $3 Billion profit annually, pay us the lowest they possibly can and insist on insulting us annually with those disgusting frozen cakes. They expect us to develop a "corporate identity", experience a "family feeling" (these guys must have had pretty fucked up childhoods) and genuinely think that advertising "free uniform" as a job perk will help recruitment. Most of us get through our shifts by taking the piss out of the company and the sycophantic wankers who get tearful when people don’t use the scoop. And no wonder- it’s fucking hilarious. Or at least it is apart from one thing; we’re the fuckers that pay for it. And as long as they are stealing from us, exploiting us, and getting rich from our labour, they (the bosses) will be laughing loudest. It’s up to us (me and you) to silence them.
And Finally… The Millennium Dome is probably the biggest waste of money since Duncan Shearer. It’s a big ugly tent which no one wanted and no one has been to visit.
"We couldn’t actually pay any lower wages without falling foul of the law" -Sid Nicholson, then UK vice president.
Shout out to- Mark, Chibs, Mike, Tommy, Dave, Pes, the F.C., the Newcastle crew, JFL, Lucy and all the posse. @ANTI-COPYRIGHT, please copy and distribute.
M.W.R., PO Box 3828, Glasgow, G41 1YU
The workers resistance kicks off its irregular magazine with a provocative outburst. Their organisation might be growing but with slaver like this their readership probably wont. No really, it’s great, here’s what the critics said:
"An outstanding accomplishment, challenging, intellectually sophisticated and yet it reads like an airport novel. A truly remarkable debut" -Buffy the Vampire Slayer
"I literally couldn’t put it down" -Mr. Sticky
"I might quibble with some of the conclusions but cannot dis the central argument. The most entertaining writing since Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" -Ray Kroc’s ghost
Join the debate at ‘McSpotlight’- http://www.mcspotlight.org/ Other Contacts that you might find useful: -Support Network for McDonalds Workers, C/O MSC, 5 Caledonian Road, London, N19DX -Service Workers Action and Advisory Project, Tel: 020 7587 0839 -Health and Safety Executive, Tel: 020 7717 6000