The Guardian Pitches that Fifty Thousand a Year is “Economic Slavery

by Mark Angelides

The Guardian is running a “sob” article about an unfortunate woman who is homeless despite working ridiculously long hours for a poor hourly wage. The subject of the article describes it as “economic slavery” and says she feels like a “peasant”. But based on the figures supplied in the article, it appears Fran earns over $50,000 a year. This article is about nothing more than pushing the $15 per hour Minimum wage; it is using heart strings rather than economics to push an idea…And this is all they have.
Fran works one job at a Popeyes fast-food restaurant and takes home $76 a day (six days a week), and until she recently quit her second job was doing janitorial work getting $93.5 a day. This works out (not including taxes or deductions) at $52,884 dollars a year. Yet Fran is homeless and can’t afford car insurance.
She clearly has a hard life; living on a friends couch, working incredibly long hours, and I don’t want to denigrate anyone who works hard to make a better life, but the idea that this is economic slavery is ridiculous.
The Guardian is trying to make a case for a more socialized worker/employer relationship and is desperate to grab onto any sob story they can. Yes, it’s sad that Fran doesn’t have her own home…But many people don’t. And it’s sad, too that she has to work long hours, but so do many others. And these ”others” probably don’t get a $50K wage packet!
The Guardian writes: “The restaurant is on “short shift” at the moment, which means it has about half the usual staff, so Fran Marion often has to do all those jobs herself. On the day we met, she estimates she processed 187 orders – roughly one every two minutes. Those orders grossed about $950 for the company. Marion went home with $76.”
Is it just me or does this seem entirely justified? Popeyes has more than one worker (we can assume that Fran serves at the till and that other people do cooking, cleaning and overall management), so they have others to pay, also the $950 is gross, not net, so they also have to pay for the food, containers, electricity, water, taxes, rent, maintenance etc… She is, in fact, making almost 10% of the gross.
Like people the whole world over, it all comes down to personal responsibility and choice. You make sacrifices for things you want, and you make choices based on your circumstance. There are many hardworking families who would be thrilled to pull in $50K a year, so why is the Guardian focusing on Fran? Because she is a campaigner in the political movement to push for a $15 Minimum Wage; and the elite at the Guardian don’t realize that there are people a lot worse off than Fran.