Should fast-food service workers receive a living hourly wage increase to $15/hour?

Asked by: TheEconomist
  • We need a living wage, more employee value, and an economic boost.

    First off, a living wage is exactly that -- that which is necessary to survive. While $15.00/hr is still less than some living wage estimates, it is still much closer than $7.25/hr and would help those who do not have the highest-paying jobs to make ends meet. This is important not least because it helps people better themselves through education, enjoy free time, provide more for their children and help them not get into a similarly low-wage environment, and achieve better health and wellness, all of which pay off not just to that person, but to the company and to society.

    Second off, employees need to be valued. If everybody that you hire is just another replaceable body, then no employee will ever receive anything from the company, which either places the burden of health insurance and stability on the government, on charity, or if those fail, on nobody -- which often means a broken life, through crime or hopelessness. A higher wage makes people more valuable, which reduces turnover and makes companies more likely to provide basic services, which both encourages good practices, takes the burden off of government, and improves employee productivity and profits.

    Third, we need more spending in the United States economy in a time of crisis. Raising the minimum wage will encourage people to spend their excess money, especially the poor, which will in turn boost the American economy. While prices will eventually rise, a nice near-Keynesian boost in a bad economic time is helpful.

  • Focusing on$/hour misses the problem.

    The main problem in retail and food service is not wage but rather hours, and by extension the total possible income of these employees.

    Most retail & food service companies do not usually give full-time (30 or more hours/ week) to any non-management employees. (This is largely thanks to Obamacare, which mandates companies to provide benefits to full-time employees.)

    Companies also demand that employees be available for all shifts (have "open availability"), and then do not give them consistent schedules. The result of this policy is that employees cannot have more than one job because they do not know which hours they can commit to work for the second (or third, or fourth) job.

    The upshot of all of this is that people cannot work over 30 hours, and many companies, including Target, only give 10-20 hour weeks to many employees. This makes the minimum wage raise useless to these employees. Even at a ridiculous $15/hour that would only be $150-$300 dollars per week. Worse yet, it would force many businesses to close or almost double their prices, raise the nationwide cost of living, and thereby screw everybody, ESPECIALLY those the raise is supposed to help.

    The most sensible way to approach the income problem is to address corporate scheduling policies. If employees have schedules within consistent blocks of time every week, then they can cobble together multiple jobs to get the 40-80 hours required to make a living on a minimum wage job.

    At that point, small raises in the minimum wage can actually benefit these workers, without forcing employers to reduce the total number of hours to give to employees, raise prices, go out of business, etc.. Otherwise, the large hikes in minimum wage just make the situation worse for these people.

    10 hours at $7.25/hour = $72.50/week
    20 hours at $7.25/hour = $145/week
    10 hours at $15/hour = $150/week
    20 hours at $10/hour = $200/week
    40 hours at $7.25/hour = $290/week
    20 hours at $15/hour = $300/week
    20 hours at $20/hour = $400/week
    60 hours at $7.25/hour = $435/week
    20 hours at $25/hour = $500/week
    80 hours at $7.25/hour = $580/week
    20 hours at $30/hour = $600/week
    Under current scheduling systems, people have to be paid $30/hour, which is what low-level engineers and people with master’s degrees in other fields make, in order to make what they could were the rules regarding employee availability to change.

  • I can't take this story seriously

    You got blacks (in the picture) protesting an Al Sharpton-run place. My day couldn't get more hilarious if it tried. What a piece of crap place that is. Is it a coincidence that most McDonald's, if not all, in the world are always in some run-down beat up neighborhood? LOL

  • No way, Jose

    No way! Even managers get paid $12, and they have A LOT more responsibility. Why should the workers get paid more when they have less responsibility? Not only that, but prices would have to go through the roof to pay for these salaries. If there are 10 people working at MCDonalds, that would mean a running cost of $150 per hour. They'd have to charge $9 for a hamburger and sell at least 16 per hour to stay in the black. They can't be sure they'll always sell 16 hamburgers per hour, so they should pay the workers less. This argument is based on nothing but selfishness. The striking workers don't want a job that challenges them, so they demand to be overpaid for their work.

  • Simple economics of labor.

    To put it plain and simply, these workers do not even produce more than $15 for the company they work for in the first place. As with supply and demand, there is such a massive and easily obtainable labor-base for these jobs, because anyone can do them! I'm 15 years old and I can flip a burger or clean a bathroom (this may be overtly stereotypical, but it is generally the case) and I only deserve however much I net for the company. These strikers should aspire for more demanding and hence rewarding jobs by getting an education and initiative. Fast-food service should be a stepping stone, and help someone trying to get to a more superior occupation to then be more than able to live off of.

  • NO, Absolutely NO

    Inflation taken into the matter states that the minimum wage should be around $10. This doesn't mean because fast food workers have a special job, the minimum wage for them should be higher. There are things called promotions that allow them to make more money. If they believe that they need more money, then they should work harder and then eventually they will be able to get a promotions and make more money. It shouldn't be given to them but not the rest of the world.

  • Should be more, but not that much more.

    I think that fast food workers are likely paid to little in the status quo, and I do think that employees should be paid more if they aren't given set schedules that don't have reasonable blocks of hours. However, a floor of $15/hour is far too much, and I don't think that it is reasonable to expect every job to pay a "liveable" wage for it could lead to cost-push inflation.

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Adam2 says2014-05-18T19:17:35.287
Can you people give it up with McDonald's. Get a life...
Seido says2014-05-18T20:45:22.690
I'd support raising the minimum wage on a federal level to around 10 bucks an hour. That, if I remember correctly, if classified as a livable wage. I would then support hooking up the minimum wage to inflation as to ensure that the minimum wage stays current with what the dollar is actually worth.