Fast Food Workers Strike Across the Country

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Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

Marcos Oleynick, 36, protests outside Burger King as part of a nationwide strike by fast-food workers to call for wages of $15 an hour, in Los Angeles, California August 29, 2013.

Employees of fast food companies are on strike around the country Thursday, demanding higher wages and union privileges. The Service Employees International Union claims the strike will hit as many as 60 cities from coast-to-coast. Fifty years after the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom demanded a $2 minimum wage, the workers are asking for the same buying power, calling for $15 dollars-a-day. The current minimum wage is $7.25.

“I think it really is a sign of things to come. It sort of is the vanguard of change,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, whose organization represents 12 million workers. “More to come unless the economy starts to work, with decent standards of living and benefits.”

Many of the fast food workers are expected to have support from their representatives in Congress. Democratic Reps. Judy Chu and Barbara Lee of California, Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, David Cicilline of Rhode Island, John Conyers of Michigan, Keith Ellison of Minnesota, Sheila Jackson Lee and Al Green of Texas, and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, along with Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) are expected to join the workers, according to Politico.

Fast food jobs have notoriously low wages, which the SEIU claims are increasingly unfair in an industry that hauls in $200 billion. The nearly 505,000 American fast food cooks made on average $9.03 an hour last year, while the 2.9 million preparation and serving workers earned on average $9 an hour. In July, the average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was $23.98 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Previous strikes in New York this year have been unsuccessful.

 

76 comments
AlexanderShatravka
AlexanderShatravka

Morons who are not able to do anything to create or find a better paying job, can only shout loudly like hungry pigs. Дебилы которые не способные ничего сами создать или найти более высокооплачиваемую работу, способны только громко орать как голодные хряки.

RobertVaughn1
RobertVaughn1

When cost of labor increases, automation replaces skilled workers. Unskilled workers are plentiful. No need to pay high wages for them


DeanJackson
DeanJackson

Raise the minimum wage from $15 dollars-a-day from the current minimum wage of $7.25, when there's a glut of teenage and young adult unemployment? In fact, the minimum wage should not only be lowered, but abolished, thereby allowing the huge teenager/young adult unemployment rate to come down.


For those of you who forgot Economics 101 (or never took the course), raising the price of an economic good (in this case labor), all other variables remaining constant/same, will decrease the consumption of the good. Conversely, a lowing of the price of an economic good, all other variable remaining constant/same, will increase the consumption of the good.

If the minimum wage were doubled for fast food workers, unemployment for those workers would rocket by 50%. Of course, the media, grand-standing politicians and the likes of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, would suddenly forget about those newly unemployed, while bathing in the propaganda-glory spotlight of winning an increase in the minimum wage for those lucky fast food workers still working. 





roknsteve
roknsteve

The last time I was in McDonald's in the late 80's they were so rude to handicapped people I never went back.

BassBoat
BassBoat

Being able to pay more is not a reason to pay more. The job is worth what it is worth. The workers should educate themselves so that they can earn more. A really bad idea to suggest that some has invested a lot of money into a franchise and for Alex Rogers to have the nerve to tell the operator how to run the business. Alex is totally ignorant about business.

john_rambo
john_rambo

Where can I find some junk food to poison myself today?

emgk56
emgk56

how is the average non farm wage 23 bucks an hr.?I am a craftsman with 30 yrs experience and struggle to make this...on the other hand,a lot of companies could pay decent wages,but don't..

sacredh
sacredh

They're on strike? But who's going to spit on my food?

BillWlodarczyk
BillWlodarczyk

Just an FYI the Ceo of mcdonalds makes 8.75 million a year. Figure out that hourly pay. He make 530 times more money than the average worker there. They CAN  afford 15 an hour.

BillWlodarczyk
BillWlodarczyk

Probably can afford? Probably can. Why don't you ask the CEO of McDonald's what his pay is for an hour. I'm sure he gets a livable wage doesn't he?

JohnDavidDeatherage
JohnDavidDeatherage

I hope this is he start of people studying Economics.  As long as there are plenty of unemployed people, wages at the bottom will remain low. Go on strike from your unskilled job and several people are willing to take your place.

But let's assume these strikes are successful and the minimum wage is raised. Employers will look for labor saving machines to replace workers.  Machines that don't strike, don't show up late, or fail to show up for work. Look at a typical McDonalds.  Think of the machines that save labor; Self Serve Soda dispenser, self serve credit card readers, and so forth. Striking for higher wages may result in lost jobs as people are replaced by machines....

Raising the minimum wage will have the unintended effect creating additional unemployment.  Food for thought.



bobcn
bobcn

@DeanJackson

"For those of you who forgot Economics 101..."

For those of you who forgot Supermarket 101 -- if you pay a lower wage than was paid in 1963 then the people who do the work can't afford to eat.

But then you're Beginning Economics course probably didn't have much to say about poverty, did it?  Food and shelter isn't a luxury -- it's a right.,

Diecash1
Diecash1

@emgk56 I believe that figure includes salaried employees as well.  According to the link, the average wage for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was $20.14.

TimSaxton
TimSaxton

@BillWlodarczyk FYI:  The CEO makes 14 million a year.  Not 8.75.
Also there is 1 CEO.  There are 1.8 Million employees.

If the CEO reduced his pay to nothing, and gave employees a raise using that money, each employee would make $7.78 more a year.  If they work 30 hours a week, that ends up being $0.00499 per hour raise.  Just under half a cent an hour raise.

Math is fun.

aztecian
aztecian

@BillWlodarczyk that is ridiculous...even if he was taxed at a rate of 95%, he'd be making enough money to still be a rich bloat.  they should be paying their workers $30/hr. 

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@JohnDavidDeatherage As long as there is no floor for wages they will remain low. Watch any period piece of America at the end of the 19th Century to see how employees were treated by unfettered capitalists.

JohnBryansFontaine
JohnBryansFontaine

@JohnDavidDeatherage 

There will be millions of would have been customers, including myself, who won't set foot in any robot fast food place. Only white, male, reactionary FOX News, Limbaugh types will patronize the robot fast food places.

DeanJackson
DeanJackson

@bobcn says, "...if you pay a lower wage than was paid in 1963 then the people who do the work can't afford to eat."

That's not what the article says. Re-read the article.

@bobcn says, "But then you're Beginning Economics course probably didn't have much to say about poverty, did it?  Food and shelter isn't a luxury -- it's a right.,"

Food and shelter aren't rights, you the employee secure them, and if an emergency should prevent you're securing food and shelter, naturally the state (and charitable institutions) will assist you. That being said, when 50% of fast food employees are left unemployed because they're priced out of the labor market, are you going to assist them secure shelter and food?







deanjackson60
deanjackson60

bobcn says, " In the past, every time legislators have considered raising the minimum wage the opponents have predicted economic armageddon."


I could care less what legislators predict, I only care what economist predict, and they always predict, correctly, increased unemployment for those with the least skills when the minimum wage is increased, which is why black teenage unemployment is 41.6%, but people like you could care less because it looks and feels good to demand that the minimum wage be raised, remaining ignorant of any possible costs. 

Fast food jobs are entry-level jobs for the unskilled, not occupations for life, unless the employee happens to be cognitively disadvantaged, and such cognitively disadvantaged persons are the first fired when minimum wage rates are raised! 


bobcn says, "Perhaps the fast food industry could get by on only $100 billion and have its workers be adequately compensated."

That's the reason they got college degrees and spent their life's savings to (1) open fast food franchises; or  (2) manage company-owned outlets; or (3) become employees at the particular outlet's parent headquarters. The wages they make, is the wages they earned through hard sweet and study, just as the wages entry-level fast food workers get are the wages they earned for the UNSKILLED labor they provide.

Again, your pie-in-the sky suggestions would cause chaos throughout the economy. Why don't you go back to school and take Economics 101 and 102, and then you'll know what you're talking about? 

bobcn
bobcn

@deanjackson60 @bobcn 

Perhaps, in addition to your basic economics courses, you should consider taking some history courses.  In the past, every time legislators have considered raising the minimum wage the opponents have predicted economic armageddon.   And, after every time it has been raised, the opponents have been proven wrong.

If your ideology keeps repeatedly being proven wrong then perhaps, rather than obstinately 'doubling down' (as is popular among some these days), maybe you should consider revising your ideology to deal honestly with reality.

deanjackson60
deanjackson60

@bobcn says, " In 1963 'the minimum wage, when adjusted for inflation, was $8.37, a dollar and 12 cents higher than today's rate of $7.25.'."


Good, you got your facts straight! Now go to Washington, DC and dissolve Federal Reserve, which is the institution that devalues the currency via the purchase of Treasury bonds.




bobca says, "What the article does say is that the fast food industry 'hauls in $200 billion'.  Wouldn't you think that the industry that so handsomely benefits from its workers labors should be the first source for its own employees livable wage, rather than the taxpayers and churches?" 


The market determines labor wages for fast food employees (including the owners' wages), not the fast food industry. If you raise the wages of fast food employees, (1) many fast food employees will price themselves out of the fast food labor market; the first to go being those with less seniority on the job or with less experience, the manager retaining the employee who offers the most value from those two categories; (2) those potential fast food workers who never worked the fast food industry will never get hired at fast food establishments, because fast food employers will prefer  to hire fast food employees with experience, who will be many now thanks to the minimum wage being increased from $15 dollars-an-hour from the current minimum wage of $7.25 and (3) many unemployed will be attracted to the higher minimum wage of the fast food industry, increasing the time spent unemployed.


Best you take a course in Economics 101 and 102, otherwise your suggestions would cause economic chaos for the economy. 


I just noticed the article says "$15 dollars-a-day". That should read, "$15 dollars-an-hour"!


manlyman
manlyman

@DeanJackson @bobcn If you're 36 years old and still making minimum wage, I think you have deeper problems to worry about. Flipping burgers was never meant to be a career.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@bobcn @MrObvious @DeanJackson 

Correct - and that's not capitalism. That is corporate welfare. Corporations socializing the cost of doing business onto tax payers. I rather have them pay people a living wage and suck the excess out of the management bonuses instead so we have a management to worker salary diff like in the 50's - something like 30 times. Not 200+ like it is now.

Corporations would like to let us know that they can't afford to pay living wages while they're awash in profits and lavish bonuses for management - but they don't mind local, state and federal government (regular folks) substitute artificially low wages - as long as we don't increase the taxes on the super wealthy.

bobcn
bobcn

@MrObvious @DeanJackson @bobcn

"Wait a minute - you want us tax payers to substitute low paid workers so that companies can make even more profits off our backs?"

Some do.  Walmart, with a net income of $17 billion last year, famously held seminars for its employees to teach them how to apply for food stamps and welfare benefits.

bobcn
bobcn

@DeanJackson @bobcn

"That's not what the article says."

You're right.  The author did leave out that fact.

In 1963 'the minimum wage, when adjusted for inflation, was $8.37, a dollar and 12 cents higher than today's rate of $7.25.'.  Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rj-eskow/a-dream-deferred-the-mini_b_3820416.html

"...when 50% of fast food employees are left unemployed because they're priced out of the labor market, are you going to assist them secure shelter and food?"

What the article does say is that the fast food industry 'hauls in $200 billion'.  Wouldn't you think that the industry that so handsomely benefits from its workers labors should be the first source for its own employees livable wage, rather than the taxpayers and churches?  Perhaps the fast food industry could get by on only $100 billion and have its workers be adequately compensated.  

Of course there would have to be sacrifices:  Smaller yachts, fewer vacation homes, shorter Mediterranean cruises, etc.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@DeanJackson @bobcn 

Wait a minute - you want us tax payers to substitute low paid workers so that companies can make even more profits off our backs?

TimSaxton
TimSaxton

@aztecian @FreeToSpeakOut @BillWlodarczyk

Pay back?  he didn't borrow his way up.  He *EARNED* his money.  He earned his position.  And everybody else is the potential to *EARN* their way up to.  He didn't get any special favors.

JohnDavidDeatherage
JohnDavidDeatherage

@deconstructiva @mantisdragon91 @JohnDavidDeatherage The price for unskilled labor is set by where the demand for unskilled labor meets the supply of unskilled labor.  All the wishing in the world doesn't change it.  Wage rates have not kept pace with inflation because of a number of factors like productivity gains, loss skilled jobs creating an over supply of workers.  We have too many job seekers for the number of jobs available. That alone keeps wages low. Creating a higher minimum wage will create higher wages for some and new unemployment for others. With higher wages, labor saving devices will become more cost effective.  You can't legislate around basic laws of economics anymore than you can change the laws of gravity.

JohnBryansFontaine
JohnBryansFontaine

@JohnDavidDeatherage @JohnBryansFontainero·bot

ˈrōˌbät,ˈrōbət/nounplural noun: robots
  1. 1.a machine capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically, esp. one programmable by a computer.

If places go ' full Borg ', I think that people will still want to go to places with at least some human workers. Does the average customer want to be greeted at the counter by a machine, Robot, Borg ? I wouldn't.

JohnDavidDeatherage
JohnDavidDeatherage

@JohnBryansFontaine @JohnDavidDeatherage those are not robots but perhaps you were speaking metaphorically.  Most national fast food restaurants employ labor saving machines which proves my point. When the price of labor becomes too high, machines can be purchases to replace (some) labor.