It saddens us deeply to hear of the death of the US working class leader, Myrna De Los Santos, at the age of 49; a lady who despite ill-health, often walked to work in wind and rain through being unable to afford transportation. An inspirational woman who attended picket lines and fought for better pay and Trade Union rights. Unbelievably, she died for want of healthcare that she couldn't afford. Despite earning only $9 an hour, she didn't qualify for Medicaid or any other help. The fact that Myrna was unable to receive the care she needed brings great shame upon both her employer, McDonalds and her country. One of the richest companies on earth, based in one of the planet's richest economies.
Every worker deserves a life of fair play, dignity, well-being and good health. There should be no ifs, and no buts. However, poverty wages and corporate greed take these rights away from so many workers and in Myrna's case, the low pay that she received contributed massively to the loss of her life.
The Bakers', Food and Allied Workers Union stands in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the United States through this tragic and terrible time, and we offer our sincere love and condolences to all who knew Myrna.
We pledge to reflect on Myrna's life and approach our efforts to fight for the rights of fast-food workers in the United Kingdom and abroad with renewed vigour. We also urge everyone to sign the petition on behalf of US fast-food workers (link below).
We stand with the 'Fight For $15' campaign and remind workers in our country that the US healthcare/insurance model is one that the UK Conservative government is making a steady creep towards. Cases like Myrna's should drive us to fight to protect our NHS in our country and to demand free, universal healthcare for everyone else around the world.
If countries can find billions of pounds to set other nations on fire and bomb people, we sure as hell can find the money to provide healthcare for all.
Ian Hodson BFAWU National president (On behalf of the Fast Food Rights campaign; £10 and a Union)