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Living Wage: Fast Food

by Mark Riley posted Dec 5 2013 12:35PM



As fast food workers take to the streets across the nation, we ought to reflect on just what the Republicans' cut first and ask questions later ideology has wrought in American society. The New York Times has run a couple of stories profiling people who for years were part of the nation's middle class who now find themselves staring at their 60s working low wage jobs. That's also happening in fast food. We also need to consider the fact that the average age of an American fast food worker is now 29.

That's hardly the fresh faced teenager trying to save up for college, or someone who needs a little supplemental income. Fact is, times have changed. That's why their demand for $15 dollars an hour sounds entirely reasonable to me. Especially in light of what moneymen in expensive suits are getting ready to do to the city of Detroit. How are they connected, you ask? The city is now able to declare bankruptcy (not necessarily a bad thing), and at the same time cut retiree pensions (an awful thing). The rationale? Things have changed. Detroit is broke. It can't pay an average $19,000 a year to people who've worked for their city, no matter what the state constitution says.

Times have changed.

So if that's true in Detroit, why does the fast food industry cling to an old, timeworn view of who their employees are? Haven't times changed in fast food? Burgers don't cost a quarter anymore. The head of McDonald's makes more than $8 million a year. The industry pushes back against demands for a living wage by threatening to bring in automation. Don't buy it. Automation costs lots of money. Besides, would you want your burger flipped and packaged by Uniblab?

Long story short, I support fast food workers, even though I rarely eat fast food. The days when the big fast food operators can alibi and excuse their low wage-no benefit behavior are coming to an end. After all…..

Times have changed.

Filed Under :
Topics : LaborSocial Issues
Location : Detroit
12/05/2013 12:35PM
Living Wage- Fast Food
Please Enter Your Comments Below
12/06/2013 11:35AM
Living wage
Not only should there be a living wage for fast food workers, there should be a living wage for everyone. There are also other low wage jobs outnthere. By the way, I guarantee you that most of the people who work at low wage jobs, work very, very bard.
12/19/2013 4:19AM
If you cant export it, Unionize it!
WE need a higher minimum wage to close the wage gap in this country and government intervention is the only way to accomplish it. We need a resurgence of unions to bring back a future for the Middleclass in this country. The Fast food industry is a great place to start, it is the safest industry to unionize the choices of where to eat and whether to walk by a picketed establishment is too easy for consumers... if McDonalds is on strike I will go to Dunkin Donuts if Dunkin is on strike I will go to burger king etc.. The business will have to decide very quickly if they want to keep making a reasonable profit while paying a reasonable wage or give up all their profits to the next door business. No business will sacrifice themselves for the business next door, you can bank on that. Furthermore I believe that if workers feel they are so underpaid or unfairly treated that they are willing to bankrupt their own livelihood, then they are probably justified to do so. As for people that say they only cook or clean they don’t have any skills…. So What? Most union jobs are traditionally repetitive task that no one else wanted to do and until businessmen found a way to export them out of the country these tedious jobs supported healthy families, local communities and America’s infrastructure it made the American middleclass lifestyle the envy of the world. We have to stop being divided by race and social issues …this is a Class war and I don’t believe the rich are truly American anymore, they are “globalist capitalist” who care less about America other then how much profit they can make here and how safe their money is because the American military will protect it for them. As for us, our children our weekends off and a secure retirement they care less.
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