Last week, #FightFor15 leader and former McDonald’s worker Myrna De los Santos died. She didn’t have to. Myrna couldn’t afford health insurance because of the low pay she got working at McDonald’s and because the state of Missouri didn’t expand Medicaid.
Myrna De los Santos struggled with health issues for years – but she simply could not afford the health care she needed on McDonald’s pay. She was a leader in the #FightFor15 and when she died she was only 49 years old.
For more than ten years, Myrna worked at fast-food restaurants in Independence, Missouri just outside of Kansas City. She worked at McDonald’s for almost half of that time. Then four months ago her health took a turn for the worse and the low wages caught up to her, and she had to quit four months ago.
McDonald’s and fast-food jobs let Myrna down — she made pay so low she couldn’t afford to go to the doctor. And even though she made just $9 an hour, Missouri’s broken safety net was not there to catch her. She never qualified for Medicaid or other help – she was left on her own.
To those who knew her personally, her family and friends, she was an inspiration. Full of warmth and joy. Always hardworking despite the odds – even walking to work through rain and snow when she couldn’t afford transportation.
To the #FightFor15, she was a leader – inspiring others on strike lines for over 2 years. She is the reason we fight. The reason we will not stop until all people who work can afford to live.