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Friday, August 2, 2013

Fast Food Worker: We Want $15 An Hour And A Union

Rasheen Aldridge and Ruby Edwards demonstrate in front of McDonald's on W. Florissant Ave. in St. Louis. (Kate Sheets/Facebook)

Rasheen Aldridge and Ruby Edwards demonstrate in front of McDonald’s on W. Florissant Ave. in St. Louis. (Kate Sheets/Facebook)

Union organizers say a series of rolling one-day walkouts by fast food workers in seven U.S. cities constitute the single largest employee action in the history of the industry.

Thousands of workers from two dozen chains are calling for the right to unionize and higher wages — $15 an hour.

You feel your job is in jeopardy every day you go to work. Not having a union is like not having a stable life.
– Cinnamon Tigner

That’s twice what many workers in the industry currently make, and well above the current median rate of $9.05 per hour.

The campaign started in New York about eight months ago. It’s backed by workers groups and has received millions of dollars from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

Critics of the labor action say the workers should get another job if they don’t like their current one.

Economists including David Neumark say the demands may be unrealistic. He told Here & Now that a sharp rise in wages would have some benefits, but it would also lead to some job losses.

Rasheen Aldridge, a striking worker currently employed at Jimmy Johns in St. Louis, says employees can’t live on $7 or $8 dollars an hour. He wants a living wage and a union.

Cinnamon Tigner works at Wendy’s in St. Louis, and told Here & Now, “A union is very important because you will feel protected. You feel your job is in jeopardy every day you go to work. Not having a union is like not having a stable life.”

Guests

Transcript

ROBIN YOUNG, HOST:

The Wall Street Journal called today's jobs reports steady but tepid, 162,000 jobs added last month. Unemployment dropped a bit, but the number of hours worked and the average pay also dropped slightly. And these numbers come as thousands of food industry workers end a series of rolling one-day strikes.

(SOUNDBITE OF POLITICAL PROTEST)

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (Chanting) We can't survive on $7.25. We can't survive on $7.25.

YOUNG: You've probably heard about these walkouts or maybe seen managers flipping burgers or manning the takeout window at your local chain. It's a campaign that started about eight months ago. It's backed by workers' groups and millions of dollars from the Service Employees International Union. The goal is to activate workers at hundreds of restaurants from some two dozen chains to call for higher wages and the ability to unionize.

In a few minutes we'll hear from workers in St. Louis, but first we turn to an economist who looks at the numbers and studies the effects of wage increases. David Neumark is the director of the Center for Economics & Public Policy at the University of California, Irvine. He joins us from the NPR studios in Washington.

And professor, the current median wage in the industry is $9.05 an hour. Workers are asking for $15 an hour. You say what?

DAVID NEUMARK: I say it's extraordinarily unlikely that they would get anything like that, and if we're really talking about something like a legislated minimum wage going up to $15 an hour. That's even less likely, if that's possible, and although we don't have experience with minimum wage increases of that order. That is more than doubling the federal minimum wage. I think most people would regard it as extraordinarily risky.

YOUNG: Tell us more about that because the question is could businesses like McDonald's do it? We see, although they had not the earnings they wanted recently, but these are huge international corporations. Why can't they pay their workers more?

NEUMARK: It's not a question of why can they or why can't they. I mean, we can look at that and say geez, they're making a lot of money, why don't they share it with others. The bottom line is no one can force them to because they're going to ultimately respond to the incentives that the law creates. If you push up wages on low-skilled workers, we could say they could absorb that in profits, and they probably could, but they don't have to.

And what they're going to do is respond to those higher labor costs and economize on the use of now more expensive labor.

YOUNG: It sounds like you're saying that the cost of your fast food will go up.

NEUMARK: That's right. There's - I don't think anybody disputes that qualitatively. There's some debate, not really based on much evidence, about the magnitude of that effect. Price is important in the fast food industry. I would venture to guess that if McDonald's costs more than going to a restaurant and sitting down and getting table service with your burger and fries, not many people would go to McDonald's.

YOUNG: Well, staying with cities and states and what government might require, these workers are pointing out that in effect most of them work one or two jobs at these fast food restaurants and also qualify for government programs like food stamps, rent subsidy programs because of the little that they make. So in effect, isn't public money subsidizing these private employers? Isn't public money making it possible for these private places to pay so little? Doesn't that give states the right to demand more from these employers?

NEUMARK: Well, let me avoid the issue of right. Let me talk about the merits of doing it or not. It is true - if a worker earns low wages, low earnings and - an important and - is in a low-income family, that person and his or her family is typically entitled to some kind of federal benefits.

I think there's two things to point out. First of all, many low-wage workers, and this is also true in the fast food restaurant sector, are not in low-income families. Many of them are in fact teenagers. So one of the problems you always face in thinking about solving this problem is how do we target low-income families.

Now, back to the question of should state governments, federal governments or even city government say, well, you should pay more because why should we, why should the taxpayers, be paying it, but somebody is paying anyway, right. I mean, the distinction between public and private money I think is sometimes a bit overstated.

If we push up prices, push up wages and then prices in fast food restaurants, it's true for workers who keep their jobs there would most likely be a reduction in eligibility for government benefits, but there's two tradeoffs. First of all, some people, I would maintain, will lose their jobs, and they will likely be eligible for more government benefits.

We have lots of experience with mandated wage floors. Those policies do, not surprisingly, deliver wage gains to those who keep their jobs, but whether one keeps a job is a big if because those policies do cause some job loss instead. Secondly, prices will go up. If the person behind the counter is no lower in income than the person in front of the counter, then part of what goes on when you raise wages and raise prices is a transfer between those two workers and their families, and that may have little justification.

YOUNG: Where does - as an economist, where does Henry Ford fit into this? In 1914, he effectively doubled his workers' wages because he said make the best quality of goods possible, the lowest cost possible, pay the highest wages possible. And this may be mythology, I thought his thinking was the more I pay my workers, the more they're going to buy what I make.

NEUMARK: I think that's probably not the argument that survives the research. I think the argument that survives the research is more that sometimes paying a high wage can elicit responses from your workers that increases their productivity. So certainly if I'm an employer, and I raise my wage, and other employers who hire the same kind of people as me don't, my workers are going to stick around longer.

So you could imagine a company saying we're going to go with higher wages, then we're going to train more, and we're going to - our workers are going to stick around longer, and that's going to be good for our bottom line. Another company may say, you know what, that doesn't really work for us.

We don't really need to train our workers, the jobs are very simple. We can live with very high turnover, and maybe we're mechanized enough, or we have enough supervision built in, that loyalty and that kind of stuff doesn't really matter very much.

So companies choose different strategies. Are there some offsetting responses to raising the wage in terms of a company's bottom line? Yes, there are. I think, though, if the company thought it actually would be more profitable to pay higher wages because of these responses, it would do so, and as a consequence, and we see this in the evidence, when wages are forced up on low-wage employers, there is some job loss that results.

YOUNG: That's economist David Neumark, director of the Center for Economics & Public Policy at the University of California, Irvine. David, thank you so much.

NEUMARK: Thank you.

YOUNG: So an economist's opinion, and when we come back, two fast food workers, and also "The Daily Show's" take on critics of these workers.

JEREMY HOBSON, HOST:

In the meantime, a look at some of the other stories we're following. President Obama plans to nominate John Koskinen as commissioners of the IRS. He has been Freddie Mac chairman and a Y2K czar, but can he turn around the troubled IRS? Also the musical duo The Civil Wars made a new album while splitting up, Singer-songwriter Joy Williams, one-half of the now defunct group, will describe the contentious project later today on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

We're back in a minute with more of Robin's conversation, HERE AND NOW.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

YOUNG: It's HERE AND NOW. Today we're looking at the rolling strikes being held by fast food workers, organizers calling it the single largest action in the history of the fast food industry, thousands of workers demonstrating for higher wages and the right to unionize.

Fox News host Neil Cavuto is a critic. He says when he turned 16, he was grateful for a job at the chain Arthur Treacher's, just $2 an hour and all the fish he could eat. But "Daily Show" host John Oliver pointed out that the median fast food worker today is 28 years old and...

(SOUNDBITE OF TELEVISION PROGRAM, "THE DAILY SHOW")

JOHN OLIVER: Cavuto's $2-an-hour wage in 1974, adjusted for inflation, would today be worth nearly $9.50, which is more than $2 more than today's minimum wage.

YOUNG: And Cinnamon Tigner works at Wendy's, where she makes $7.35 an hour. She uses that to support herself and her two-year-old daughter. And Rasheen Aldridge works at Jimmy John's. That's a chain of sub shops. He makes $8 an hour. They both estimate they make about 16 or 17 a year. And they join us from the studios of St. Louis Public Radio. Welcome to both of you.

CINNAMON TIGNER: Hi, thank you for having us today.

RASHEEN ALDRIDGE: Hello.

YOUNG: What are you looking for?

ALDRIDGE: Fifteen and a union. You know, we need a living wage. We need to survive.

YOUNG: And Rasheen, I understand you're living with your mom, you're still living with your family, can't afford to move out, but you're asking your employers to almost double your salary. Many economists say they would be unable to keep the cost of the food down.

ALDRIDGE: I don't agree with that. I mean the Big Mac goes up without our wages go up. So I mean I don't understand how if we make more, that the food price is going to go up.

YOUNG: And what's the importance of a union to you, Cinnamon?

TIGNER: It's very important because you will feel protected. They - your job is in jeopardy every day you go to work. If you're in a union, if your manager's having a bad day, and he or she just wants to fire you because they're having a bad day, you have a union to protect you.

YOUNG: Well, you also work an on-call shift. Tell us what that means.

TIGNER: I can come into work whenever they need me to be there. I do that so I can have more money on my check.

YOUNG: So it means that you are available 24 hours a day.

TIGNER: Exactly.

YOUNG: But that - doesn't that also mean that you can't, as many workers have to do, you can't take a second job?

TIGNER: Right. I still need to spend time with my daughter. So if I do two jobs, I really wouldn't be able to see her, you know.

YOUNG: Look, you've had a lot of support. We've seen pictures of workers like yourself marching through different cities, people coming out to support them. But there have also been critics. I was listening to our sister show ON POINT, and there was a caller who said that this was making his blood boil because you knew the wages when you took the job, you shouldn't have taken the job if you didn't approve of the wages you were being paid.

And he also implied that people shouldn't stay in these jobs, that these are jobs for teenagers flipping burgers, not people raising children. And the companies also have said that they are proud of the fact that they offer a low-level, entry-level job for someone just coming into the workforce.

TIGNER: Yeah, that's kind of - I've been working in fast food since I was 16. I've been on my own since I was 17. Some people are not blessed to have a job that's behind a desk, behind a computer, doing something that they love to do. A lot of people, life is hard for some people. And if these are the only jobs that are available for you to work and to take care of yourself and take care of your family, why can't it be a living wage for you to raise your family with?

We have people who's 50, who's 35, managers who's older than I am who's trying to make a living off their wages also. It's not just particularly off of just children working at a fast food restaurant. Yeah, you get that, you'll get kids, and I know a lot of people that's in universities that works at a fast food restaurant to make ends meet to pay for education, to pay for their children's education, to do anything they can to make a better life for themselves and for their children.

YOUNG: Well, in fact I think you're sitting next to one. Rasheen, do I understand that you're working at a fast food chain but also trying to go to school?

ALDRIDGE: Yes, currently I'm enrolled at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park. And I mean, just like Cinnamon said, I've been working fast food since 16, but it's not like we're like, you know, we're not trying to better ourselves. But these are the jobs that are hiring. Every time you look on a corner, another Burger King or Subway is being built.

You know, like Cinnamon said, these jobs behind a desk, these corporate jobs are really not hiring. They don't have enough positions. So these jobs are not the ideal jobs that we want, but we have to survive, and we can't do it off these jobs.

YOUNG: Well, do you fear that you might lose these jobs because you've been protesting and you don't have a union to back you?

ALDRIDGE: Every day, every day, but we're so strong because we know that first off, the workers, we have each other's back. Like we're brothers and sisters. It's amazing how it's like just bonded, just to know that we have each other's back and then to have so much community support, faith leaders coming out saying, you know, we have your back.

You know, you still have that, you know, that scariness in you that, you know, we're not unionized. These jobs can do anything to us. They can fire us and not rehire us, but I feel way more comfortable knowing that I have the support from workers and also the community. It's just amazing.

YOUNG: I'm wondering, too, this is happening at a time when people have become far more conscious of the inequities in income and wages, huge gap. Is that part of what fuels this?

TIGNER: No, it's - to be honest, it's really the things that we go through at work, the duties that we really have to do. A fast food restaurant is like six jobs in one. Like we have to cook, we clean, we clean bathrooms, we scrub floors, we do everything to keep a restaurant clean, to keep everyone feel like that they're at home when they're in McDonald's, or they're in Wendy's, or they're in anyplace.

You know, we do a lot of work, and I feel like it's not worth 7.35. It's not worth $8. It's worth 12, it's worth more than that. You know, it's worth more than just change.

YOUNG: Have you gone back? I know you just had the rolling protest in St. Louis. Have you gone back to work?

TIGNER: Yes. Yes, I have. I went back to work yesterday.

ALDRIDGE: And I also....

YOUNG: What was that like? You too, Rasheen. What was that like, both of you, first of all from your co-workers or maybe your management? What did you feel? And are customers noting what's gone on?

TIGNER: It was a lot of tension when I went back to work, to be honest. I felt really awkward, I felt out of place, but I know where I stand. I knew what I was fighting for. I knew that it's just, it's bigger than just me. It's a change that's supposed to be happening. And you'll get a lot of negativity, but it's up to you to just stand up and make that change to let people know that even though you might not agree with it, but I'm still doing this for you. I'm doing this for us, period.

YOUNG: For your co-workers as well. Rasheen?

ALDRIDGE: It was amazing. Like the walk back is amazing, because we walked back to work with community leaders, like I said, and you know, different people in the community and faith leaders that, you know, walked us back into work, and they deliver this letter to the manager saying, you know, we were on, you know, a legal one-day strike and we'll be returning to work.

You know, and we just want to work, you know, hopefully no retaliations happen, but when I went back yesterday, you know, everybody was like, oh, I've seen you on the news, you know, you know, you're doing a good job, you know, keep it up. It was that good feeling of, you know, they - the workers, you know, they're happy, you know, what I'm doing. You know, maybe they couldn't take the step just because of their nervousness and which we all have.

You know, I was nervous to go on strike because you don't know what they're going to do, not being unionized. They can let us go at a drop of a dime. But to, you know, have the support of just so many people, it - the nerves just go away because you know that you're protected.

YOUNG: That's Rasheen Aldridge and Cinnamon Tigner, fast food workers in the St. Louis area who participated in that city's one-day strike earlier this week. Rasheen, Cinnamon, thanks so much for speaking with us.

ALDRIDGE: Thank you.

TIGNER: Thank you.

YOUNG: So how have these strikes affected you? Are you finding yourself looking at fast food workers a little differently when you go in because of new respect for what they do? Are you worried that their demands for a higher raise will hurt your pocketbook? Let us know, hereandnow.org. Latest news is next, HERE AND NOW. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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  • Whitesauce

    Neumark’s comments are corporate talking points. His avoidance and reframing of the questions is proof. Low wages drive down demand, pure and simple. I wish the show used the opportunity to counter his argument with one from another economist.

    • wamo

      Are you ready for the real truth? If the fast feeders paid $15 per hour the current employees would not be working there. For $15 an hour these places would be much more selective in the hiring process and would hire fewer, more qualified employees. It would be like the difference in a Costco vs. Walmart employee.

  • facts_not_fear

    David Neumark is either incredibly ignorant of the make-up of the fast food/retail workers in this country or he is being intentionally misleading. He also obviously doesn’t understand negotiating tactics. Of course, $15/hr is not likely, but you don’t stake out your initial position as that which you will ultimately accept. Furthermore, regarding wage increases causing price increases, there have been a number of studies that show price increases would be minimal in order to maintain current profitability in this industry. Lastly, as an economist, you’d think Mr. Neumark would understand that upward pressure on wages in one part of an industry will push up wages in other parts of that same industry. That puts more money in everyone’s pocket which means more economic activity and therefore more profits for the bosses. If this were the 1930s, I could hear Mr Neumark making the same argument about factory workers fighting for better pay and respect, and boy, look how terrible the country turned out in the 50s and 60s from all of those good-paying factory jobs people had.

    • Joe

      Would love to know what “studies” you are referring to that show that price increases would be minimal. Burger King needs to make money or they won’t be in business. if you increase the cost to make a burger you increase the price they will charge for the burger (obviously). I don’t see the company simply eating this cost and not charge more. All fast food resteraunts will increase prices. Won’t this hurt the poor the most (b/c they tend to eat fast food the most)? This creates a cycle that only hurts poor people. I think it is a great idea I just don’t see how it will truly help the poor in America.

  • Nick A. Zukin

    Seriously? Your comment from critics is merely “they should get another job”. Maybe the author of this should for shoddy journalism.

  • KeeganCox,UnionOrganizer/Human

    Major props to WBUR for covering this story, but please prioritize the voices of the striking workers over economists like your guest (David Neumark?) who, based on his comments are grossly out of touch with the working-poor of America. To paraphrase just one of his absurd comments: “these workers don’t come from low-income families, they are teenagers.” What! Fact aside, that many of these workers are adults or even seniors, but does he think working-poor parents/families don’t also have children who work? Unbelievable! I was once one of those low-income teenagers working at McDonalds raised by a working-poor single-mother who busted her butt working three jobs, earning an associates degree at night-school, all the while raising my brother and I.

    To all fast-food workers: Go! Fight! Win!

    • fun bobby

      but how could that be possible if she was not making $15 an hour?

    • tuffasagong

      Keegan just smells another Union he can take advantage of…

  • James

    Have fast food workers considered how much they will pay union dues? If the worker is 28 and still doing a high school kid’s entry level job, maybe they should have stayed in school or at least go back to school now. Grow up, get an education. Get a grown up job.

    • fun bobby

      or at least take a shot at becoming assistant manager

  • Brooke

    I have worked in fast food and yes they deserve a little more respect and they work hard but I don’t believe they deserve $12 an hour. I work as a third shift certified nursing assistant at a retirement community and only make $10.50 an hour and I’m sorry but I work hell of a lot harder now than ever before and if they raise fast restaurants then they pay for people who work harder pays should go up!

    • fun bobby

      just get a job at mcdonalds

    • Alonzo

      Yes everyone’s pay should go up. If you realize that the “minimum wage” of today is worth 74% LESS than the 0.30 cents average wage of the Great Depression workers. We have all been “stolen from” “lied to” “tricked”

      Research the collapse of purchasing power parity from 1913 till today.

  • Mark

    Just like you graduate from High School, you need to graduate from these low wage learning jobs. These jobs are the traditional gateway into the workplace for our teenagers. If the jobs are taken by older workers with families that don’t want to move on, the gateway is clogged. I agree older workers should not work for minimum wage, they should move on to better paying jobs. Teen agers are not taking these jobs and food stamps. The Social Funding issue only comes up when a person tries to support a family on minimum wage.

  • Keynes Was Wrong

    Rasheen and Cinnamon need to understand the economic impact of raising minimum wage. The Philips curve for one, as businesses shed workers and hire less, inflating the dollar, in turn driving up the cost of living to the point that pretty soon, $15/hr isn’t a “living wage” anymore. It’s cyclical. There might be a delay, but it’s cyclical nonetheless. Honestly, if you aren’t making enough money to support yourself, you need to work your ass off and elevate yourself to a position making more money. It’s really that simple. That is what drives economic progress. That said, Neumark’s comments were pretty lackluster. I wanted more data and analysis.

    • Joe

      Thank you! I’m sorry that this is the case but it’s just economics.

  • Stephen

    I don’t really believe that a large increase in the minimum wage would significantly affect fast food prices. That having been said, I would gladly pay an extra 10% 25% or even 50% more for my McDonalds meal if I knew that the extra money would be going to ordinary workers wages and not management salaries and corporate profits. The minimum acceptable wage level in a civilized society should be set so that every worker can comfortably get by on a single job.

    • Joe

      But would the poor who tend to eat at McDonald’s be willing to pay more? I don’t think they can

    • ryan

      this type of ignorance from all of you is so depressing. oh lord.

    • fun bobby

      and how often do you eat at mcdonalds?

  • smbizowner

    Honestly, what skills do these folks have that they think they deserve $15.00 per hour? As a small business owners, at the end of the day we are lucky to get close to that amount and we don’t only work a shift and then forget work ’til the next day. Our 24/7 job is making sure my employees have a job! These jobs are entry level jobs, much time is spent teaching employees how treat customers and how to work. Be like Rasheen who is going to school. Lots of opportunities at community colleges and trade school programs.

    • Keynes Was Wrong

      You get it. I like that. Management and vo-tech workers make ~$15/hr. And that’s with leadership experience and developed skills. So are those workers to expect $30/hr from now on? That is a disastrous idea.

  • nels

    Please ask Rasheen, who doesn’t know why increasing the cost of labor would increase the cost of the product, to open his own restaurant, pay his employees $15.00 an hour and then get back to us on what his product cost is.

    • Keynes Was Wrong

      “Yeah, sure, McDonald’s has a Dollar Menu, but I’ve got the $3 Menu. I pass the increased cost on to my workers. Wait… where are you going?!”

  • Anne Newkirk Niven

    For those who believe there’s a 1:1 correspondence between wages and prices, please consider that wages are NOT 100% of the cost of that burger. There’s the cost of raw materials, the real estate cost of the location, advertising, etc. The real winners of the current system are not management of these stores, by the way, who frequently work close to 24/7 to keep their businesses open. It’s the UPPER management (read Corporate Overlords) who make out like bandits. (I am a small business owner, by the way, and I barely make ends meet, too, but work 70+ hours a week to keep going.)

    • guest

      Its the consumer that gets inexpensive burgers.

      • Sy2502

        Exactly this. Everybody knows (and if they don’t, our education system is really in trouble) that wages and prices are NOT the whole story. Market is what sets those numbers. Consumers want dirt cheap fast food, and that’s all they are willing to pay for. For the fast food industry to make a profit, they must do what the consumer wants. Cheap and low quality ingredients are one way. Low wages are another. If people want to pay $10 for a burger, they don’t go to the drive-through, they go to a proper restaurant. Question for the workers: when your joint closes down because they can’t make a profit, will you be better off?

        • fun bobby

          yeah then they can get real jobs

  • Andrew Swagner

    I fully support these brave workers, who are really standing up for all people who have to work for a living. People said many of the same things about the workers who organozed the steel mills, auto plants, and mines in the 1930s and 40s “what skills fo they have?” Nonsense then, and nonsense now. Solidarity with the strikers! Living wage now!

  • Mitchell Prince

    I support the fight for higher minimum wages in fast food and other low wage jobs. I work a similar low wage job at 8 dollars an hour. I was a college student, And have now had to take a break so I can work to pay bills. I think some of the things the protesters are asking for are far fetched and hurting their cause. A level closer to $10 an hour would be reasonable and reachable.

    • ryan

      if a higher minimum wage is good, why stop at $10? why not $100?

  • joe

    I worked in fast food restaurants from age 15 to 18 for minimum wage. It was lousy work but pretty easy. I joined the army, used my GI bill to go to college and my new job I started me at $13.00. I now make more than that but I had to work hard to learn a lot of valuable skills and use them.

    Fast food is fast food for a reason the workers aren’t gourmet chefs.
    If a Big mac is costs as much as a steak dinner I’m not going to buy it.

    Also most of the employees 30 years or older were convicted felons and sex offenders who acted as a warning to me to not make the wrong decisions in life to I could avoid there fate of working min wage jobs for the rest of my life.

  • facts_not_fear

    KeeganCox, you have a fundamentally flawed understanding of economics and where value and wealth are created in an economy. The value of labor is measured in the profits generated from that labor. McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, etc are making RECORD profits. It matters not whether it takes only one brain cell or an 150 IQ to do the work that makes that profit because it is the LABOR that creates that profit and labor deserves its fair share of said profit. PERIOD! Nobody is asking for the lion’s share of that profit. Capital will still get its share. These workers are simply demanding that their contribution to that profit be properly compensated. And btw, if you spent even half a minute looking into the labor market of the modern US economy, you would see that there is a massive shortage of jobs to “graduate” into. For example, we graduate 200,000 more students/year in the STEM fields than there are job openings. The number of people currently working in positions that they are over-educated and over-qualified for is at record highs. There is no “up” to go to for the vast majority of workers, and with the cost of higher education skyrocketing, what rational person would go 30-40K in debt in order to get a $10-12/hr job? Your “I got mine so why can’t you” attitude is tone deaf to the realities that workers face in this economy.

    • ryan

      (Nobody’s going to reply to this garbage? Wow.)

    • fun bobby

      deserves its fair share

  • twells

    Having very little skill means you cannot demand a higher wage. If these workers want higher wages, get higher skills.

    • Marco Cuenca

      I am all for the American worker, but I must say that that the skills that fast food employees are trying to bargain with are not going to force the employers to increase their wages. There are too many other people in the labor market that will fill take their positions, for the same or $1 more.
      The market will not bear paying a living wage for unskilled labor. The fast food industries are providing jobs that are not intended to raise a family on. These are for young kids, and not to make a career out of. If you can’t get it together and make a life decision on a career that pays a living wage, join the military where you can be lead and taken care of and the life decisions can be made for you and you won’t starve due to your own lack of economic awareness.

      • tuffasagong

        I thought Unions used to be for at least semi-skilled employees or jobs that are dangerous and hazardous. I understand it’s not a delightful job but wanting a 100% pay raise for a job that anyone can do is ridiculous.

    • vhiznay

      You’re probably one of those rude people who come in expecting your food fast fresh with a smile and then complain because they put pickles on your burger even though you didn’t say you didn’t want them.

      • twells

        Vhiznay: You have not countered my statement by trying to assassinate my character. You either do not understand the premise, or are trying to change the subject.

        It would be an interesting to see if minimum wage did get pushed to $15, would automation be a viable alternative to low- no-skilled workers? $15/hr would be a salary that someone skilled in the oversight of robotics could command.

        • fun bobby

          of course

  • Patrick R.

    THIS is the REASON you are STUCK in the ‘fast food industry’ … BECAUSE YOU’RE ‘STUPID’! How the hell are you going to pay UNION DUES on only $15 an hour!? I can’t stand the ‘progressive IGNORANCE’ of these liberal IDIOTS who think that a ‘fast food’ job is supposed to SUPPORT their livelihood! I’ve shoveled PIG MANURE for less than what they are making! The ‘STUPID’ people are wanting to get higher wages so that the CONSUMER will NOT BE WILLING TO PAY the higher price for the fast food and then the ‘STUPID’ people will NOW be OUT OF A JOB! How the hell IGNORANT can you be!?

  • Craig

    I hope to go these people don’t get 15 an hour. They have no skill and it’s McDonald’s! I used to work there for 4 years. It’s not that hard. 15 an hour would be rediculous. I mean look at all the stupid things that fast food employees have been posting pictures of lately ( licking tacos, eating ice cream out of the machine, laying on a bunch of burger king buns).

  • Bruce

    A little math might be helpful…

    McDonald’s employees about 1.8 million people. A typical full-time work year is 2000 hours. Multiplying these numbers shows that McDonald’s workers put in about 3.6 billion hours per year. But some work part time, so maybe the real number is something like 2.5 billion hours worked.

    The Daily Show’s John Oliver thinks it would be easy for McDonald’s to pay $2.20 more per hour. Multiply that number by the 2.5 billion hours worked, and you get an increased wage cost of $5.5 billion. This happens to be McDonald’s total annual profit!

    Reasonable people can differ about the details, but even modest wage increases will massively undermine McDonald’s position as a profitable company.

    • robert7773

      That is the number they employ world wide not in the US where the minimum wage laws would take effect.

  • fun bobby

    I don’t understand why they can’t form a union if they want to

  • Dakota

    This is absolutely ridiculous. Im 22 and I can see that. Why do these people deserve $15 an hour. There is no real skill or physical labor required for these jobs. Plus there entry level. The pay grade is there to weed out the incompetent workers. Those who work hard and prove themselves will work there way up and get better pay.

    I work for a tire company and I only make 9.50 an hour. My job is physically demanding and fast paced. These people can barely get a burger and fries out the window in 6 mins while im required to change out 4 tires and have the vehicle out the door in 15 min. Theres times when I work on up to 6 cars an hour. Every week I am required to stock almost a 1000 units onto the shelves on my own. A third of which are 30” or larger.

    Id like to see some of these people come and do my job for a day. Let them have a try at actual work. Hell ill let them stack the 40” truck tires 8 high. Maybe then they will see how ridiculous it is to request 15 when they do so little.

  • Obaaaaaaaama sheep get sheared

    Yawnn.the devil wants ice water too…replace them with vending machines…At least I will get what I order, because the ones in florida cant understand english.And the food will be cheaper :) I love when unions step in lol.Hows that oblumber care working out for them ??? stupd is stupid does.

  • sabres8ter@aol.com

    I went to college, got an education and have a job that pays less than $15 an hour. So where’s the logic that someone whose doing a job that doesn’t require more than a high school education get $15 an hour? Yeah, minimum wage sucks – get two jobs and an education and get a higher paying job like everyone else

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