The Big Q: Should Fast Food Restaurants Pay Workers $15 Per Hour?

Thousands of fast food workers across the nation reportedly staged protests and drew dozens of arrests Thursday demanding a minimum wage of $15 per hour.

The rationale for higher pay is outlined as follows in an online petition to McDonald’s Wendy’s and Burger King restaurants, with nearly 10,000 signatures garnered thus far:

“I urge you to pay a minimum wage of $15 an hour. It is outrageous that most of your full-time workers need to get public assistance to survive.

Fast-food jobs pay so little that 52 percent of the families of front-line fast food workers need to rely on public assistance programs, costing taxpayers nearly $7 billion a year.

Even at 40 hours a week, more than half of front-line fast-food workers are forced to rely on public assistance to cover basic needs like food, rent and healthcare. Compared to the overall economy, fast-food jobs are twice as likely as other jobs to pay so little that workers are forced to rely on public assistance.

We know that workers put their money right back into our economy. Increasing fast food workers’ wages to $15 an hour will not only help struggling families in community make ends meet, it will also spur economic growth. When fast food workers win, this will help lift up all low-wage workers, and improve our entire economy.”

Responding to Thursday’s protests, the National Restaurant Association fought back with the following statement:

“This is a national, multi-million dollar campaign engineered, organized and funded by national labor groups. The activities have proven to be orchestrated union PR events where the vast majority of participants are activists and paid demonstrators. This is nothing more than labor groups’ self-interested attempts to boost their dwindling membership by targeting restaurant employees. We hope labor organizers will not escalate with aggressive tactics or intimidation, and will act with respect toward our customers and employees.

Restaurants continue to be a critical employer that trains America’s workforce and provides a pathway towards upward mobility and success.”

Do you think fast food restaurants should pay workers $15 an hour (and if so, would you refuse to eat fast food until they do?)

Comments

  1. Dreg says

    Gimme gimme gimme more money. I’ll still give you a frigging attitude when you try to get yo mcnuggets. Rich folk don’t eat at mcdonalds. Raising prices just keep poor folk poorer. Ya’ll only helping the way for robots to take your jobs. Then you be sheet out of luck. Stop acting a fool and you be getting raises. Worthless homies make me sick.

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  2. Former Fast good worker says

    No, if you think you should make more money than do what ever it takes to earn it. I started out in fast food as a 16 year old. I did not stay there. If I can do it anyone can !

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  3. A realist says

    Absolutely!!!! Better pay = better performance at work and customer service. Which in turn makes for a great tasting Big Mac and Whopper.

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    • Brianc says

      Not really. With that much pay right off that bat, there wouldn’t be much incentive to learn your job and grow in responsibility and therefore more pay.

      1+
  4. Hayseed says

    No, not a chance in hell. I do side Drywall, and other various construction work on top of my normal job, I get paid $13.00 / hr for SKILLED LABOR, and I accept that pay rate because I am helping someone with a growing business and I understand the taxes and insurance that gets paid on top of that. What kind of skilled labor does it take to slap a piece of meat between 2 buns slop on my ketchup and mustard, piss in the pickles and throw a few of them on too?

    The only way to move up in this world is to learn how to work “THE HARD WAY” then move on to a better job as you get older. Some people have absolutely no skill set what so ever because that dropped out of high school, spent 80 hours a week playing video games or smoking pot and crack. They made nothing of themselves and now they expect US to pick up the tab.

    Here’s an Idea. have a minimum wage set for Employees with a high school diploma or GED and have a wage set for those with a GED and one set for Neither.
    lets see
    $9.25 – Proof of full time college student enrollment – must be verified by employer bi-annually
    $8.00 – proof of High school diploma or GED
    $7.25 – Still in school or drop outs <— Rate NEVER subject to go up.

    Or why use my idea and have employers just use common sense and the state change the unemployment regulations – IF YOU are fired you can claim unemployment unless the employer contests it and wins – RARE!

    Here's another idea. Lower minimum wage to $5.00/hr so people will try to better themselves and not be losers their entire life.When I started min wage was $4.25, I was still in high school working for a pizza shack. Now, 20 years later I am a software developer taking good care of my family. Its called LIFE people, get one!

    Give them More Money, they'll still act the same, act righteous as if they deserved it and they will not automagically start working better. work habits are formed early. they are either lazy or hard workers from day 1. NOTHING WILL CHANGE THEM.

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    • Hayseed says

      proof reading.. my second reference was supposed to say one for college students (not GED a second time…)

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  5. Dave says

    I think one should look at executive compensation in these companies. Cut their pay in half. This would more than allow business to raise wages to $15.00 per hour. Greedy executives are the issue of low wages for workers.

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    • h says

      Franchise owners usually do rather well for themselves too. 2 Functioning McDonalds here in Bel Air were recently knocked flat and rebuilt on the same site. That alone probably cost 1 million dollars each.

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      • Flunked School says

        There aren’t many McDonalds left in Harford County that are of 1960s and 1970s design.

        McDonalds in Aberdeen/Route 40 is one of the last “old” buildings still around in this county.

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    • It's election time says

      We have an election in November. That’s all this is. The same morons holding the signs will vote for the same people who want open borders. This is to divert their attention away from who is screwing them. Two big themes for the next month or so will be ‘war on women’ and ‘minimum wage’. What a joke.

      You could take every dime from the 1% and it would not make the great unwashed middle class.

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    • bk says

      Who do you think paid to have the new building built? The franchise owner. Business people put money back into their businesses so they can grow and open new locations so they can hire more people who can also pay taxes and contribute to society.

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    • The Communicator says

      Look at executive compensation? So who looks at this? You want the government to intervene? Or perhaps we should put you in charge of determining what executives and workers are paid. My friend, we live in a capitalist society, where we all have the opportunity to work hard, take risks and earn as much money as our own talents, education, and hard work allow.

      There are many people in our great country who have worked hard to put them selves through college or have learned a trade who get up every day and work 8, 10 or 12 hours a day to achieve their goals and to financially provide for themselves and their families. It seems to me that most of the people whining about over paying fast food employees and blaming everyone else, i.e., the business owner, the executive, the government, etc, are the same ones who are always looking for the handout or assistance. The same victim mentally and attitude that you are somehow entitled to get more money than you are willing to work for. There is an infinite amount of wealth and it is there if you are willing to work for it. It you sit back and blame everyone else for your situation, then you will be forever disappointed.

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    • Harford Old Timer says

      The CEO makes $8.7 million…. McDonald’s has 1.7 million employees. Take his ENTIRE salary and split it between everyone… everyone gets $5.15 a year extra. You have to learn to deal with big numbers. Even if you just counted US employees (440,000 +/-) that is $19.89 a year.

      Stop reading Huffington Post

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  6. h says

    No one should work 40 hours a week and still need a government subsidy to survive. This is a relatively new problem thanks to the 1%ers.

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    • You're a Moocher says

      You *might* have a point, if these 40-hour people gave up cell phones, cable, TV, cigarettes, drinking, the occasional bag of weed and other luxuries. I think the list of folks that do without, work the 40, try to advance, and still can’t make it is pretty short.

      Neal Boortz has three rules to avoid poverty. They work:

      1.) Stay in school.
      2.) Don’t get pregnant
      3.) When you get out of school get a job. Any job. And keep that job until you can find one that pays more.

      1+
  7. none says

    All you have to do is go to the McDonalds in Havre de Grace and try to get you order right. Order right get a pay raise. Order wrong, business as usual.

    1+
  8. McDonalds stock holder says

    As a McDonalds stock holder I think that if these workers want $15 per hour for slinging hash then lets fire them all and replace them with illegals. The illegals will work for far less than $15 per hour and be happy with it. The illegals have already destroyed the landscaping and home building industries and have set wages back for 40 years. Now they are in the foodservice and janitorial services as well and those industries will see the decimation of years of growing wages as these people will work for less and less.

    If they deserve to make $15 per hour to sling hash, I deserve to make $1000 per hour as a programmer.

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    • Pavel314 says

      Google “Momentum Machines” to view their new hamburger making robot. Running the machine will cost a lot less than having several $15-per-hour hamburger flippers, putting them out of a job.

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    • Jefe says

      Funny most illegals working in landscaping and construction make more than $15/h and the reason illegals do these jobs because Americans rather work at McD’s and bitch about not making that much.

      1+
  9. Keith Gabel says

    According to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, the minimum wage should be around the $10.50 mark if it were to have the same purchasing power as it did in the past.

    While a statutory minimum of $15 an hour may be a little much, I cannot see a reason why someone earning the minimum wage should be below the poverty level. It is morally wrong and, as a matter of fiscal policy, it is bad for the taxpayer, as it is the taxpayer who is paying for the employers’ reluctance to pay a fair market wage.

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    • The Communicator says

      It’s quite simple, these fast food jobs are entry level jobs for teenagers and young adults. The employment market (supply and demand of this unskilled workforce) deems that based on their skill set, these jobs pay minimum wage or perhaps a little more. If anyone is doing fast food work as a career (behind the counter or on the grill) then perhaps it means that they have reached their maximum potential and/or they do not have the education, skills or desire to move on to another position or opportunity. Anyone else with potential, developed skills and initiative would either move upwards into supervision or management or take their education and experience and move to another employer who is willing to pay them a higher salary based on their experience and work ethic. Artificially increasing their wages to a wage higher than the job market is willing to pay will do nothing but cause the consumer to pay more for these products and services.

      Look at Detroit and the U.S. Automotive companies, this is a perfect example where unskilled workers were over paid for years and the industry could not sustain these salaries and remain competitive.

      Don’t blame the business owners for the low salaries, if an employee quits their job there is a line of people who will gladly fill their position. The business owner takes great personal financial risks opening and running a business. Again, it’s simple, if you want to earn more money, stay in school and when you get a job, work hard, learn everything you can about the business and take that experience and market yourself either to your employer or to other employers.

      If you disagree, en I recommend you open a fast food restaurant (or any other business for that matter) and overpay your employees. We will see how long your business survives.

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      • h says

        Moo Cluck Moo, a burger joint in Detroit proves you are clueless. Parroting what you have been told doesn’t make you informed how things actually work. Perhaps you are the one who needs an education.

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      • Keith Gabel says

        I’m not sure what this has to do with keeping the minimum wage artificially low and not having it, like all other costs of life, keep pace with inflation.

        $15 is a demand, probably not worth heeding. $10.50 is about where it would be if it were exposed to normal inflation. Maryland’s minimum wage will reach that point over the next few years. Most businesses and employees will adapt and thrive. The data will be available for those who study these things rather soon.

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  10. Kharn says

    The people demanding $15/hr are going to demand themselves out of a job.
    Robotic burger makers and fry cookers are just waiting for the labor costs to increase enough to make them profitable. At that point, you’ll have a manager, a technician to refill the machines and a food runner/bathroom-mopper in each restaurant.

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    • h says

      While the robot replacement sounds great you can replace workers easily but when your burger machine breaks you lock the doors and wait for a repairman. Not likely to happen.

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      • Kharn says

        If you design the machine with hot-swappable components, the technician could easily follow the machine’s instructions to unbolt Box A and replace it with a spare unit from the storage room when that portion fails. Then they’d send Box A to repair and order a replacement via next-day shipping to refill their stock.

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        • h says

          No matter what you do it will still require people and the more difficult and sophisticated you make it the higher the skill level/pay will be required to keep the systems running negating any cost savings.

          Burger flippers will always be cheaper than delivery services or robot repair technicians and they can supply what your customers actually want. A burger.

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          • Kharn says

            An office laser printer is pretty sophisticated and high-tech, but they make it easy for the $10/hr secretary to change out the likely-to-fail components.

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          • h says

            Actually they don’t make any switch out parts for a laser printer. You can replace the toner easily but that’s where they make the money . Anything other than that and it’s time for a new printer.

            Care to take another swing? Your form is good and you are bound to hit the ball sooner or later.

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          • Kharn says

            h:
            You’re thinking too small, look at a device similar in complexity to what a burger maker would require. For example, a printer/copier/fax/email unit designed for a work group with 11×17 capacity, duplex, multiple reams of letter in the trays and a stapler (HP 7830, for example, with an MSRP of over $14,000), not your $200 home model.

            Every single part in the printer can be replaced, the most common ones using only the pictograms on the part’s box and colored levers.

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  11. Flunked School says

    Look on the bright side, when fast food becomes more expensive than eating a full meal at a non fast food restaurant, certain areas of Harford County will be less congested. Think constant friendship.

    You won’t see as many impatient wannabe rich people getting into fender benders in the Bel Air area rushing to get sammiches.

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  12. stupid gun laws never work says

    $15 an hour fast food employees comes to two things

    1 less employees working in the place to keep costs down

    2 food prices will sky rocket and I am sure the quality will drop as well, and this will mean less people in the place buying

    so by all means please pay the folks $15 an hour they will be out of work in less then 18 months anyway and the company may not be far behind that in closing for good

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  13. stupid gun laws never work says

    also if the wage goes to $15 an hour almost ALL companies will be hurt by this and some may go out of business or let go of a bunch of the peple who demand they get $15

    $15 for flipping burgers/ making tacos/ or frying chicken LMFAO

    I can see it now $12 for a small big mac meal, who in there right mind would pay that ????

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  14. noble says

    The fundamental issue is pretty simple. It’s income and expenses. There’s virtually undeniable proof that wages (across the scale, not just minimum) have not kept up with the costs of the basics of American life. I’m talking housing, transportation, child care, food, and medical expenses. These have risen much higher and faster than wages. The lower you are on the scale, the more you feel it. That’s why this is in the news. Because truthfully, for a family of 3 or 4 with two earners, in most places in the country, they cannot get by, let alone get ahead, on minimum or even low wage jobs in some cases. In our area, $10 an hour might as well be nothing. You can’t afford the basics I listed above.

    So you have 3 choices, let them worry about it, expand govt assistance, or help them help themselves by increasing wages– or some combination of all three, which seems the best choice to me. Obviously there are people who get what they deserve and take advantage of the system, but a lot of people today aren’t realizing that there are a lot of families who are one medical emergency or job loss from poverty, eviction, and getting stuck in the cycle. There are a lot of families the last 5 years who never did anything wrong, yet find themselves in these situations.

    There’s no perfect solution. Yes I think they should be paid more, but I also know many of them could do more to help themselves.

    The biggest target in the issue for me, is the costs. We’ve got to get the costs of basic expenses down. That helps everyone, and does it fairly.

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  15. A realist says

    If we really wanted illegals out they would be!!!! Secure the borders with the same military personnel we send oversees. Heck with a war, I’d be happy not hitting potholes….

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  16. DaHerm says

    An number of folks (Noble, Keith, h) need to take Econ 101 again. Wages are not decided based on the relative cost of living. An employer decides how much he can afford to pay a worker based on the skills needed, the cost structure of the business, the value returned to the business by that employee and how competitive the job market is for different levels of skill sets. They are minimum wage jobs because they represent the minimum skills need to work, not necessarily to provide all of life’s creature comforts. It is then up to the individual to make appropriate use of their wages. Since poverty is relative in a given population, you can never remove it by artificially inflating the wages paid. Someone will always have more, others less.

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    • h says

      Claiming others need to retake econ 101 while extolling blatant falsehoods is comedy at its best. The vast majority of employers will never pay an employee 1 dollar more than they absolutely have to, to get a job done. It’s basic human nature. Interestingly enough many business owners that get rich off the work of minimum wage employees couldn’t do those jobs.

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      • John Cole says

        As an employer I have to tell you that you are wrong.

        The comfort and welfare of employees is the most important part of running a good business, and it is therefore in your own interests to ensure your employees are properly remunerated based on their productivity within the business.

        This is why we are losing teachers; a singular lack of respect from their employers.

        When I had to move my business 200 miles, ALL employees came with me.

        However, I don’t agree with paying salaries that are in excess of the value to the business.

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    • Kharn says

      The big reason for the $15/hr push? Most trade union pay scales are set as multipliers on the minimum wage. If you boost the minimum wage to $15 an hour from $8.5, that $34/hr plumber suddenly gets $60/hr.

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    • noble says

      I’ll take Econ again if you promise to work on your reading comprehension skills.

      “The biggest target in the issue for me, is the costs. We’ve got to get the costs of basic expenses down.”

      Hmm.

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  17. RU Kidding says

    I don’t eat fast food for obvious reasons, (not healthy). So I wouldn’t know how many fast food workers are supporting families. Thought the majority of fast food workers were either students or seniors, some maybe supplementing their income or illegals. IDK?

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  18. SoulCrusher says

    I am normally all about equality, but $15 an hour for the French Fry cook is kinda steep. In my opinion, State’s should have to file a Cost of Living Statement. Based on this cost of living statement, minimum wage should be on a sliding scale. Minimum wage in New York would be higher than here in Maryland, but so is the cost of living. Seems like it would work to me, but what do I know. I’m just some crazy who speaks his mind too much…….

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  19. ASK says

    Early evidence (not speculation) in Washington State that the sky will not fall if there’s a substantial increase in the minimum wage.

    “In July 2013, hotelier Scott Ostrander stood before the city council in SeaTac, Wash., pleading with the town not to adopt a $15 minimum wage.

    “I am shaking here tonight because I am going to be forced to lay people off,” he said, according to an account in the Washington State Wire. “I’m going to take away their livelihood…”

    “SeaTac, a community around Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, went ahead with its plan, becoming, on Jan. 1, the first jurisdiction in the nation to set a $15 minimum wage, according to the labor movement. And Ostrander’s hotel, the Cedarbrook Lodge? It went ahead with a $16 million expansion that adds 63 rooms, a spa — and jobs.

    Ostrander, then Cedarbrook’s general manager, told Seattle’s KIRO-TV as the new wage law took effect that it was proceeding with the expansion “to try to recoup significant expenses that will be incurred as a result” of the higher wage. So the minimum-wage hike forced the hotel to add rooms, revenues and workers.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-milbank-no-calamity-yet-as-seatac-wash-adjusts-to-15-minimum-wage/2014/09/05/d12ba922-3503-11e4-9e92-0899b306bbea_story.html?hpid=z2

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    • h says

      Odd thing is when people who make minimum wage get a raise they don’t send it to their Swiss Bank accounts. They actually spend it at places like fast food restaurants where it increases sales, making a need for more workers to meet the additional demand. Unfortunately the majority of those who are against it have no clue of econ101…

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      • $50 more per hour says

        h,

        Funny, you mentioning economics and have no idea about it yourself. If what you say is true, let’s make it $30 bucks and hour – hell $50 and hour. That will really jump start the economy. And, let’s raise taxes and give government employees a big fat raise, they will spend more money and the economy will really rock. Oh wait, why stop there – let’s give the government pensioners a fat increase – then they will be out spending money.

        There, I guess I kicked up the gdp by 10% right there, right? After all, when Detroit autos became so expensive because of the union contracts, why the auto workers were able to buy enough of the cars they made to stay afloat…. right? Burger flippers will not mind spending $5 more for their own burger lunch to get a $5 raise – and 20% more for everything else. So, with burger flippers (low end service workers), government workers and pensioners making all this money, the economy will soar by their efforts alone. Who cares about everybody else, they probably… maybe, get a bump too (if not too bad, they can be the new poverty folks). But then, aren’t we right back where we were because of inflation? And maybe fewer jobs too. Shucks, let’s do it anyway. It is a couple months until the election.

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        • h says

          The best way to stagnate an economy is remove money from those who will spend it. There is no way anyone can spend 8 hours a day at a job and take home 50 bucks and live. It’s just not possible. What exactly would you do for 40 hours and accept $290.00 as payment for your time? Would you flip burgers? sounds like it would be easy money.

          Either you are being ridiculous with your $50 figure and you know it or you are clueless and can’t be educated.

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          • Will not pay restaurant prices for fast food says

            h,

            You missed the entire point of my sarcasm. You see, burger flipping jobs are not supposed to be career jobs – well, maybe under our current regime they are. But I hope for better things. A young person can flip burgers during the day and go to night school – while living at home. Or a young person can work a few hours in the evening. A retired person can subsidize their Social Security. These jobs are not career jobs. If the law makes them that, the businesses will be prohibited. Nobody is going to pay restaurant prices for a drive thru.

            Where do some of you think that the middle class will get the money to pay the prices that the cost of goods will demand when the entry level pay is so high. The net family income has shrunk by $4k over the last several years. The cost of food, fuel and home energy has risen dramatically over the last several years to add to our misery. There are 92 million working age people not working. Think of the disaster of adding higher prices to fewer people working – then add lower middle class pay into the mix.

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        • gamma ray burst says

          Bitter Boy,

          I see you are still ranting and whining. Outstanding job at becoming even more irrelevant to the discourse. Your motto should be “Bitter and I know it – Bitter and I show it.” However, your impotent babble is always laughably entertaining.

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    • Will not pay restaurant prices for fast food says

      ask,

      ….”according to the labor movement.” Make it a hundred per hour and really get the expansion going.

      Morons.

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  20. Rd says

    What do you think will happen if they raise these workers to 15 dollars per hour. The price of the everything goes up, people stop eating there and people lose their job. Yep so raise the minimum wage to 15 dollars, that will solve everything.

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      • Space Suit says

        So, “h,” what are your credentials? Internet E-Expert?

        How does the dollar menu work when the same amount employee’s are being paid double their salary, while gross yearly income remains the same?

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      • Will not pay restaurant prices for fast food says

        h,

        And of course, the time test proof of sky rocketing wages being so beneficial would be the auto industry, closely followed our current cost of government. But since the government can print its own money, we simply go 17 trillion in debt. Yep. Works real well.

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  21. John says

    I spent a couple years as the general manager of a pizza place (one of the big delivery chains.) There were two budget expense numbers that I constantly had to pay close attention to: food costs and wages. Just about everything else were fixed expenses and usually out of my control. The company referred to them as the “Big 2” and the target was that they were no more than ~60% of operating costs. My profit margins were so slim that even a slight increase in food costs or wages would eliminate most of the profit my store generated.

    I can’t even imagine what it would’ve done to my numbers if all my employees were making at least $15/hr instead of the $6.15-$7/hr most of them were making at the time. Hell, that’s almost double what some new shift managers made. A part time dishwasher, prep guy, pizza cook, cashier, or delivery driver is certainly not worth $15/hr and there is absolutely no way my store could’ve supported those types of wages without a significant price increase or laying off a good chunk of my staff.

    These jobs pay minimum wage for a reason. They are not jobs meant for anyone to raise a family on (and especially not on a single minimum wage income.) People always complain about not having enough money, but take a look at any place with a lot of minimum wage employees and see how many of those employees smoke at least a pack of cigarettes a day (and how many of them also do some sort of illegal drug at least once a week.) I don’t have much sympathy for someone claiming not to have any money when they’re spending $20-$30/week at least on alcohol, $40+/week on cigarettes, and at least that much more (probably more) on marijuana, pills, or some other illegal drugs. If I’d drug tested everyone who worked for me back then I know for sure that more than 60% would’ve tested positive for marijuana or cocaine and possibly as many as 75%.

    I’m glad I’m out of that industry. Below the district manager level, the pay is terrible, the benefits suck, and the hours are brutal.

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    • h says

      John while your plight brings a tear to my eye, fact is all those minimum wage workers were the ones actually producing something, Which in turn paid the good salaries of the district managers on up. Tell us about corporate headquarters? was it a mud hut in the desert? I feel so sorry for the owners I bet they couldn’t afford drugs or smokes either.

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    • Keith Gabel says

      It sounds like you are confusing the concept of a starting/training wage with the legally mandated minimum.

      The minimum wage was established during the Great Depression in order to keep workers out of poverty. The levels you state fail at that, by about $3 per hours.

      It appears that you are arguing for a training wage, more akin to what France has. It is a below minimum wage that can be paid only to younger people. Since a company is taking a risk and hiring them, with the expectation that they will be trained by that company, they can be paid a lower wage as an offset for the cost of said training.

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      • John says

        I’m not arguing for anything, just stating that paying an entry level fast food employee (or entry level department store employee, etc) $15/hr is outrageous.

        When I was a GM the minimum wage was $6.15/hr. It wasn’t a training wage or below minimum wage. Prices have gone up some since then and so has the minimum wage, but I’d imagine the profit margins at most individual stores are still just as slim as they were when I was running one. You essentially double their labor costs and it will have serious repercussions for the business or they will be forced to increase the prices of their products significantly to stay profitable. Businesses aren’t a charity. The exist to make the owners money and if costs rise to the point where that is no longer possible then the business closes and no one has a job.

        I’m not saying the minimum wage can’t or shouldn’t be raised some, but not to anywhere near $15. That’s more than police officers, firefighters (not counting volunteers), and teachers make in many parts of the country. Do you really think someone working an entry level fast food job that requires no skills, no education, and little responsibility should be making the same as a teacher?

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        • Keith Gabel says

          Most nonpartisan sources indicate that the minimum wage should be near the $10.50 mark, not anywhere near the $15 level. Most of what I’ve heard defending the $7.25 level revolves around business that would fail if employers were forced to keep their employees out of poverty and off of public assistance. (I’m not including you in this statement, as it isn’t something you’ve said or implied.) Currently, the taxpayers are making up for the shortfall in wages through the social safety net.

          I don’t differentiate between fast food workers earning minimum and other workers considered to be unskilled, but I do agree that many sectors of skilled employment have seen wages stagnate without much explanation as to why (teachers, police, firefighters, etc.). I do agree with you and Soulcrusher that the minimum should take into account regional differences, with low cost of living states like Mississippi and Alabama paying less than higher cost of living states, such as New York, DC, and Maryland.

          The minimum wage in Maryland is rising. Prices will rise marginally to account for it. Budget spending on public assistance will decrease marginally because workers are earning more. Economic activity will increase marginally as low-wage workers will spend what extra money they have.

          You do bring up an interesting point. As the minimum wage rises, workers who’ve been just above the poverty level will start to demand a bump-up in their wages to take into account their experience and skills. That appears to be the real crisis. When today’s $11 per hour employees start to demand $15.

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        • h says

          You think paying someone $600 for 40 hours of their labor is outrageous.

          What are your thoughts on paying them $290 for 40 hours? How well could one expect to live after taxes SS and everything else is deducted from that $290? How many college credits could you take a semester on all that dough you would be taking home along with paying your living expenses?

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          • John says

            $600/week is about the same as an E4 with 6 years experience makes in the military.

            Nothing you say is going to convince me or anyone else that someone flipping burgers should be making the same or more than anyone serving our country in the military.

            An E1 makes a little over $9/hour assuming a 40 work week.

            I agree that the minimum wage has not kept up with inflation, but to suggest that it should be raised to $15/hr is absurd. Like Keith said, if it was keeping up with inflation it should should be around $10.50/hr. I still think that’s a little high for someone working in a no skill, no education, and no responsibility job, but that should be manageable for most businesses to handle with only a slight increase in prices.

            Flipping burgers is not a job worth paying someone $31,200 a year to do.

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  22. Madateverything says

    Here’s the thing, if you want double your salary and work in fast food, you should be required to maintain a level of service in reflection to what you’re paid. Most young adults could give two shits about their job in fast food, that’s why when I go to McDonalds and ask for no pickles, I get them anyway. If you want more money, service should reflect it. If you’re paid that much and you continue to screw up, management has a responsibility to can you and find people that’ll work to the expectation, and price tag that’s being demanded. Cost of products to us are going to go up, worker standards should by theory rise as well.

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  23. the professor says

    The average student graduating from college can expect an entry level job at around $15.00 or a trade journeyman (woman too). It is not realistic that anyone without a specific skill should make that much without any training or experience. The rationale for a minimum wage isn’t about making a living–more about learning about self-sufficiency, being productive and moving on to the next best job. It is a common fallacy that if you just drop money from a helicopter then everyone is instantly rich. If wages increase more than the market can bear then jobs will be lost and businesses will close. The cost of hiring and keeping people employed is pretty high and margins in the food industry particularly are very low. I can see the $1 menu becoming the $5 menu. Entry level jobs aren’t meant to pay a mortgage, rent or all your bills.

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