'Cos our jobs are really shit…
Issue 2, Free
Exclusive interview with Richey Manic
Global resistance round up
Pissed bloke on quarters
And all the same crap we put in the first issue…
The magazine by McDonalds workers, for McDonalds workers
Hi, Welcome to issue two of McSues. The first edition was distributed around the world- from Alaska, U.S.A., to Christchurch, New Zealand, in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, the U.K., Canada and Australia, while Greek and Czech versions also appeared. McSues is written and produced entirely by the McDonalds Workers who form Glasgow McDonalds Workers Resistance (MWR). We aim to inspire other Mcworkers to start their own fights back against the company. As our movement grows stronger we hope to win higher wages, better working conditions, and a greater degree of control over our working lives. In the long term we want ordinary workers to directly control the production and distribution of wealth. That means no bosses telling us what to do and no profit mongers getting rich off our backs. In the last year we've made contact with McDonalds workers who are fighting back in towns across the UK, and with resistance groups at several stores in the U.S., a number in Australia, Canada and continental Europe. A few tales of McDonalds workers fighting back over the last year can be found further down. The trouble is, although there are lots of us around the world, we are all separated geographically, and it's easy to feel isolated. To try and overcome this, we're proposing a global day of action on October 16th 2002. It will be a day for all Mcemployees the world over, to strike and sabotage for the right to organise. You can read more about this below. Anyway, enjoy this issue, stay angry and never stop believing in our ability to change the world,
Love and solidarity,
Casper, Whybird, Funnywump, Zotard and Bouncer
Ever get pissed off with the same CD being played over and over again? We thought we'd come up with a few sounds more appropriate to McDonalds. So, here is MWR's…
Top 10 songs to listen to while selling burgers…
Take this job and shove it - Johnny Paycheck
Career opportunities (the one's that never knock) - The Clash
Smash the Mac - Crass
Slave to the wage - Placebo
Dancing on the ruins (of multinational corporations) - Casey Neill
Don't make me eat that shit - Weird People
Murderous employment - Slow Grind
Working for the fat man - Escape Club
Frightful restaurant - Seikima 2
Working like a slave - Lancaster Blues Band
We hope to have this compilation available as a benefit CD by some time in 2002. This will help spread some quality music (and a lot of shit we've never heard) but will also raise us some cash (badly needed since Skol pulled out of the sponsorship deal).
Q. How many salaried managers does it take to change a light bulb?
A. Don't be so fucking silly, that sounds like work.
The secret diary of Ronald McDonald, A very dirty clown!
Got pissed and spewed down my dungarees.
Got asked to pratt about in front of the cameras today. I couldn't be arsed because I didn't want to make a tit out of myself and waste precious drinking time, but McDonalds explained that they wanted two year olds to love me so that they would buy McDonalds shitty food. Fair enough, anything that makes kids fancy me. I was knackered after that and it was bed time. It's always bed time when the big hand touches the little hand.
I know I plaster my face in make up, but why the fuck have I got a yellow cock?
Spent the day watching snuff films and eating quavers
Visited McDonalds and scared kids with a balloon puppet the shape of a giant yellow cock. Sometimes I scare myself.
Fucked a chicken.
Ronald McDonald is walking through what little jungle he hasn't destroyed with his mate. All of a sudden, out pops a tiger. Ronnie drops his bag and, before turning to flee, puts on a pair of expensive trainers. "Do you really think you'll be able to outrun a tiger with them on?" asks his mate slightly puzzled. "I don't have to outrun the tiger," replies Ronald, "I just have to outrun you". Now this story might seem a bit unrealistic, but Ronald does have, sorry, did have one friend.
On October the 16th 2002, McDonalds workers around the world will be taking industrial action as part of the global day of action against McDonalds. Glasgow MWR will be taking action around the following demand:
"That all those employed by McDonalds, anywhere in the world, be allowed to organise themselves as they wish and that they be allowed to conduct the business of their chosen organisations on company premises, be allowed to display notices in staff areas and generally circulate information without hindrance. That this right to organisation and free expression is not dependent on the number of people involved in the organisation and that no person shall be prejudiced against for involvement in such an organisation. This demand applies to those employed directly and indirectly by McDonalds and so includes, for example, those employed to make happy meal toys. Our lives may be very different but our struggle is the same. Finally, we ask McDonalds to make explicit that they do not own their employees and that they have no right to dictate what we can and cannot believe or express at any time."
We want you to take part too… It took generations of struggle for workers to win the right to organise, but in recent years, companies like McDonalds have taken that right away. They know that if we were organised they wouldn't get away with paying us such crap wages, to work in such crap conditions. So we're fighting back, and on October the 16th we're going to make a noticeable dent on their profits around the world. Start planning now! And remember, there's one Jack Greenberg and one and a half million of us.
Global Resistance Round Up
Since the last issue of McSues went to press, McDonalds workers have been rebelling around the globe. There have been various events in Italy, including a successful strike in Florence. The walk out was provoked when the air conditioning broke and the temperature in kitchen rose above forty degrees Celsius. Thousands of Italian Mcworkers are represented by a trade union and there are active groups of workers in Rome and other cities.
In Germany, employees are less fortunate. The workers of McDonalds Wiesbaden were forced to go to court after they got sacked for being in a union. Eighty percent of the restaurants workers were members of the union so McDonalds shut the store, leaving the building empty for seven months until it was reopened. None of the former workers were employed again. The court announced that the sackings were illegal but McDonalds have appealed to a higher court. The case continues.
That story will be all too familiar to McDonalds employees in Canada where many attempts at unionisation have been defeated by some pretty twisted campaigns by McDonalds. At one store in Montreal, two teenagers, undaunted by previous failures, took on a mission to establish better working conditions for themselves and their co-workers. According to one of the pair, Pascal McDuff, "the kids who tried [to unionise] before us were courageous. I felt called to their cause". The solidarity at the Peel Street store in Montreal was exceptional and after a long and bitter legal campaign the courts officially recognised the union. The victory was only a moral one- McDonalds had already shut down the restaurant. There have followed a number of arson attacks against McDonalds restaurants in Canada which may be related to McDonalds being one of the most anti-union employers in the world.
In Paris, workers occupied their store and went on strike. When the company sacked several workers a protest was called. Striking McDonalds workers were joined by Pizza Hut employees and anti-capitalist activists. Stink bombs were hurled at McDonalds restaurants as the angry crowd marched through the Latin Quarter of Paris. A spokesman for the group said: "we condemn the fast-food practices, the lack of job security, a hellish working speed and ridiculous wages".
In Russia there are few independent trade unions but one has been started in Moscow McDonalds. Natalya Grachova, one of the unions founders, says the fight goes on "because I want people to learn to fight for their rights (…) and not simply accept everything they're given".
In the UK there are several active groups of McDonalds workers including the excellent Workers Resistance Against McDonalds (WRAM). Like MWR, WRAM is developing an international network. They have a highly recommended web site at: www.wram.cjb.net Actions in UK McDonalds over the last year have included workers leafleting customers about their working conditions, a partial walk out and at one store a 'phone in sick day'. Around the world last year there were scores of attempts at organising McDonalds restaurants and dozens of court cases questioning McDonalds employment practices.
Be careful or you'll get sacked…Spot potential allies (people throwing things about while shouting "I hate this job, I fucking hate this job)… Spread ideas and information- Discuss, debate, type up a simple newsletter for your store…. Do something practical- It could be anything- confront racism, or get long overdue bonuses paid, ordinary workers can make a difference… Make contact with others- workers, Trade unionists, Syndicalists, us lot… Meet regularly… Help each other- One person might be good at writing letters of appeal, another might be up for confronting a bullying manager, someone else might just be a good listener. As Ray Kroc once said: "none of us is as good as all of us".
McDonalds has been dubbed McGreed in Mpumalanga, South Africa, after refusing to supply anti-AIDS drugs to a staff member who was gang raped after working a late shift. The crime rate in South Africa is one of the highest in the world but McDonalds refuses to supply transport for staff finishing after midnight even though they are regularly ambushed by criminals. Even after the attack McDonalds did not offer her the chance to work during the day, nor any transport home or trauma counselling. As a result, the employee was so afraid that after finishing her shift at the Nelspruit branch, she would spend the night hiding in the local mall only leaving after sunrise. She commented after the attack: "my HIV test has come back negative but there is a window period. If I do end up getting HIV McDonalds will have helped sign my death warrant". McDonalds makes over $3billion every year. 'It's a team', 'it's a family' and yet it looks so much like a racket set up to make money.
The legendary dead lyricist, one time inspiration behind the Manic Street Preachers, is definitely still manic, but a manic still prepared to talk about McDonalds… Richey is leaning back in his chair looking mildly bored. He lights a fag and glances out the window. Grimsby is grey, it's drizzling slightly, it's a strange setting. He tells me he thinks the last two Manics' albums stank, adding that James Dean Bradfield is "overweight and out of date". I bring up the subject of McDonalds and Richey looks at me sternly for a second before laughing "big Mac: smack" and punching his palm. Richey never was a fan of the golden arched corporation, "Europe freed by McDonalds and Levi's - born to end. Can't afford it so I hate it all", he muses. I start to ask his opinion of McDonalds food but he interrupts me- "pass the prozac", I look surprised, "heroin is just too trendy" he mutters. When I finish the question he just shrugs and mumbles "worms in the garden more real than McDonalds". There's an awkward pause, I look at the rain. When I glance back Richey is casually carving '4 real' into his arm. I ask if he's ever read McNews: "sterile like a line of piss" he tells me matter of factly. Is McSues any better? I ask tentatively. "I can lick your face, I can bite it too, my teeth got rabies, I'm gonna give it to you". I figure it's time to leave but not before one last question: is he really dead? Richey rolls back in his chair with a, well, manic laugh, "nah, I work in a chip shop in Grimsby…"
Next issue, McSues is with Marilyn Monroe in L.A.
We were more than a little surprised by the number of responses we received for last issues competition. We asked "why are salaried managers so fucking stupid?" and we got a wonderful array of replies commenting on: psychological problems, imploding heads, the need to make Andy Taylor look bright, the effects of McDonalds food, the effects of inbreeding, the effects of sexual relations with farmyard animals and much, much more. Thanks to everyone who entered, we got a good laugh.
However, it would be wrong to choose a winner, basically because we don't actually have a fondue set to give away. So, this issue, instead of a competition, we're making an appeal… Last Christmas we sent senior management a card. Christmas can be a very difficult time for lonely socially inadequate people and we have a great deal of sympathy for those who have so totally lost sight of what matters in life that a burger bar seems important. They didn't reply but no doubt we're on their list for this year. This Christmas we want to send mass festive greetings to Greenberg's office in Chicago and Andy Taylor's home in Bedfordshire, and we want a comment from you! What do you want to say to these goons at this special time? Please make up a pseudonym and send us your message, we'll type them all up and pass them on to these two modern day scrooges. If they read the card on Christmas morning they'll have less time to steal their relatives chocolate money. To be included messages must reach us by December 10th .
Write to us at: M.W.R. PO BOX 3828, GLASGOW, UNITED KINGDOM G41 1YU
e-mail us at: email@example.com
Have you heard about the new 'Ronald McDonald burger'? It's a 35 year old piece of meat stuck between some 5 year old buns.
PISSED BLOKE ON QUARTERS
Onward the parade of badly lifted jokes but first a true story. Last month I was on the night shift, the shift runner was away stripping his carrot or something and the phone starts ringing. Being a team player I've left the quarter station, made to the office and answered the phone. "Right you", shouts a voice down the line, "nip out and see if the car park is busy". I've wandered out and returned to an impatient "well?" "Nah, just one big car, looks like that overpaid shit head Andy Taylor's Bentley", I said. "Do you know who you're talking to?" booms the voice on the other end, "this is Andrew Taylor". But I stayed calm: "do you know who you're talking to?" "No" answered Taylor. "Well fuck off then you overpaid shit head".
Right, this one's true. McDonalds had been accused of being ageist, 'cos they employed so few older people, so Andy Taylor sets off looking for an older worker who would say something nice about the company on the telly. First store he gets to he finds this old geezer cleaning the car park, "what do you think of your job?" asks Andy. "Bollocks" says the bloke. This happens a few times but eventually he finds this really ancient guy clearing tables in Dundee. "What do you think of your job?" asks Andy without much hope, "Oh it's great I love it". Andy is delighted and they talk for a while during which time the guy explains how happy he is at work , how much he likes the food, how fair he thinks the wage is, and what an ethical company he thinks McDonalds is. Andy says, "listen my good man, you're absolutely perfect, but there was just one thing I was wondering; what's that fucking lump on your leg?" The old guy looks a bit embarrassed then says "well you see Mr. Taylor, I'm incontinent and I need this bag to take the piss out of me, a bit like what I've been doing to you for the last five minutes". I'm telling you, that's the way it happened.
It's your letters
Thanks to everyone who has contacted us. Unfortunately, there isn't enough space to print everything we receive, but here are a couple of letters that raise some interesting issues.
Hi, I used to work at McDonalds in England but left on maternity leave to have my baby girl in July last year. when I first started at McDonalds I was constantly told that it wouldn't be long before I was promoted because I worked so hard and was always taking on extra responsibility. But then, lo-and-behold, as soon as I fell pregnant, I wasn't given a look in, being passed over while people who had been there for just weeks were given promotion. Then, these people came to me for information on how they were supposed to do their jobs. And of course, it is needless to say that these people getting promotion didn't have children. Now at this particular restaurant there is only one manager with children and, perhaps unsurprisingly, he is male. This of course is because he will not need to take time off work to tend to a sick child at any time or take the allowed 13 weeks unpaid leave for mothers in this country. there is one manager who is pregnant, but she was promoted before and can hardly be stripped of her position. I believe McDonalds are parent-phobic and resent their staff having other concerns outside of work. They disgust me and many of my ex-colleagues.
MWR Replies: Thanks very much for getting in touch about this. It's very true what you say. McDonalds seems to either discriminate against people with kids or have totally unreasonable expectations of them. For example, at our store there once was a mother, who was a manager, and she had to take her littlest one to hospital and the area supervisor was shouting "fucking, fuck off with her kids any time she feels like it", it was unbelievable. McDonalds spends so long saying how it's a 'flexible work place', it's flexible for them because they can cut our hours whenever they feel like it, but if something unexpected, like sick kids, suddenly comes up then suddenly they are not so flexible. It's true that it is different for blokes, this sort of 'parentphobia' is also totally sexist, it rests on traditional assumptions that women should and will accept full time, unpaid caring responsibilities. It's good these issues are brought to our attention, we sometimes over look them in dealing with all the other ways McD's shits on its staff. So, thanks for writing and stay angry!
I was a floor manager at McDonald's Camberwell Green at S.E.5 and I became a trade union member, the name of the union is USDAW trade union. The franchise owner's gang broke into my flat and there stole documents regarding the case. The franchise owner and his friends in the police helped set up the burglaries and at the same time I was harassed by his friends who are police officers. I want to know whether you could publicise my story, it was just like the McDonalds libel case,
MWR Replies: We are delighted to publicise your account of what happened. Regrettably, we hear many similar stories. At first they sounded far fetched, but by now we have heard so many similar accounts of harassment and intimidation of trade unionists by those associated with McDonalds that it would appear the company considers discrimination, harassment, and dismissal of trade unionists to be acceptable practise. In courts around the world, McDonalds have been found guilty of mistreating trade unionists numerous times and we can only assume they have got away with it on hundreds, maybe thousands of other occasions. We know how low McDonalds are prepared to go from evidence produced at the 'Mclibel' trial. They admitted paying people to break into an office, steal mail, etc. Before we requested the Post Office tighten security, all our mail went missing from our PO Box. It is because of McDonalds infamous record that we do things anonymously. The truth is they're scared shitless, terrified that their massive workforce will organise itself and no longer put up with the exploitation that keeps the dollars rolling into McDonalds profit bank. We really very strongly believe that over the last couple of years McDonalds workers in many different organisations around the world have taken huge steps towards developing the kind of international resistance that will finally allow all Mcworkers to stand together and fight back. We will see on October 16th how far we have come. As to your description of the police's behaviour, that also sounds entirely in character. Over the years there has been a very close and totally illegal collaboration between the police force and McDonalds. This resulted in the Metropolitan police paying the Mclibel defendants £10,000 compensation in July, 2000. The collaboration between the police and a multinational corporation against members of the public exposes the political role of the police in ensuring the wheels of big business keep turning. As Sid Nicholson said, McDonalds security "are all ex-policemen". Sid, who was UK vice president at the time, was formerly a cop in apartheid South Africa. Not very nice people.
That's it, don't be a stranger.
M.W.R. PO Box 3828 Glasgow G41 1YU UK
"A dynamic rebellion (…) changing workplace politics for ever" Agora magazine
"the global fast food chain faces a rebellion from its most powerful detractors yet: its own employees (…) Issue one seethes with vitriolic bile against the golden arches corporation" The Face
"Your disgusting offensive rubbish(…) I was disgusted (…) You could be making a serious argument to persuade others of your views but all the foul mouthed totally unnecessary swearing shows what you really are. You are fucking idiots, what if kids picked this up, or don't they matter? (…) you think you are so cool but you are typical burger flippers. You should go back to flipping burgers or get an education before you go talking about things you can't understand (…) you are scum and you don't deserve minimum wage. If everyone was like you there would be no economy." Some bloke
@nti-copyright, please copy and distribute.