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Subject: Fastfood Workers Strike for $15/hour rss

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Jon Grey
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Source: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/07/29/fast-food-workers-plan-...

I'm thinking demand dictates their wages adequately. Should every one of those strikers vacate their positions, the wages will creep up on their own if there's no demand at that rate.

On a personal note, my first job only required a high school diploma and paid a little over $12/hour in 2004 dollars, yet it bore incredible financial risk (wire and security safekeeping transfers). So I can't help but scoff at the $15/hour rate these strikers demand.
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SPARTAN VI wrote:
Source: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/07/29/fast-food-workers-plan-...

I'm thinking demand dictate their wages adequately. Should every one of those strikers vacate their positions, the wages will creep up on their own if there's no demand at that rate.

On a person note, my first job only required a high school diploma and paid a little over $12/hour in 2004 dollars, yet it bore incredible financial risk (wire and security safekeeping transfers). So I can't help but scoff at the $15/hour rate these strikers demand.


It's a race between retiring boomers and automation/robotics.

I think we have a tighter labor market over the next 4 years than people expect and then a very tight labor market for 12 years after that which will cause immigration reform and automation to go into high gear.
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I think "War on Poverty" means something to both sides of the aisle, but they're both fully invested.
 
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SPARTAN VI wrote:
Source: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/07/29/fast-food-workers-plan-...

I'm thinking demand dictates their wages adequately. Should every one of those strikers vacate their positions, the wages will creep up on their own if there's no demand at that rate.

On a person note, my first job only required a high school diploma and paid a little over $12/hour in 2004 dollars, yet it bore incredible financial risk (wire and security safekeeping transfers). So I can't help but scoff at the $15/hour rate these strikers demand.


St. Louis is one of the cities where they've been striking.

I give full props for people who choose to take a stand like this.

However, they were on the local news and the reporter said to one of the employees: "People say just find a new job" and the employee said "I'd still be doing the same."

So if you're going to be paid for doing something that menial and don't like it, why not work to improve your chances of finding something better?

I'm not saying it'd be easy, and I'm not saying these workers don't have a case (though $15/hr seems pretty outlandish for fast food)
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Not sure where the price per hour should be for fast food workers. But anyone who says that job is easy and anyone can do it...I'm not sure they have ever worked in food service, especially fast food.
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We really need to stop subsidizing fast food by providing preferential treatment to part-time employers and "first job" employers. I support this action and I hope its successful. Fast food prices are artificially low due to government handouts and extremely low wages.
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tstone wrote:
Not sure where the price per hour should be for fast food workers. But anyone who says that job is easy and anyone can do it...I'm not sure they have ever worked in food service, especially fast food.

Agreed. I worked across the street from an inner-city McDonald's, and the employees there were always working extremely hard. The place was in a constant rush, and they had to keep up a good attitude while dealing with a sometimes unpleasant clientele. As an added bonus, I'm sure they got to deal with shitheads who judged them for working in a fast food restaurant--and treated them accordingly.

Anyone who's done much menial labor should know that low skill jobs are often much harder than jobs that require an education. That in itself doesn't mean fast food workers "deserve" higher wages, but I don't understand why anyone would begrudge them the right to bargain with their employers. They're not doing anything illegal.

I wish the strikers the best of luck. What would their success cost me? An extra 68 cents for my Big Mac? (http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2013/07/30/how-much...) It doesn't really hurt me if fast food workers succeed in bargaining for a decent salary.
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psyche_athanatos wrote:
What would their success cost me? An extra 68 cents for my Big Mac?


How much is a Big Mac? 3 bucks or so? an extra 68 cents is a significant increase, do you think not?

My guess is that your math is wrong.

Here is the thing: long ago, most people worked through those jobs and moved on to a higher paying job. Today, a lot of people are stuck there, because there is no job mobility. Why is there no job mobility?

Prolly because guys like Mitch McConnell have failed to make the business of government work. Instead, he, and they, have endeavored to shut it all down. This is another example of how republican policy is just plain stupid, and does not in any way appeal to young voters.

That being said, I shall be voting for republicans in the foreseeable future.
 
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David O'Neil
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49xjohn wrote:
psyche_athanatos wrote:
What would their success cost me? An extra 68 cents for my Big Mac?


How much is a Big Mac? 3 bucks or so? an extra 68 cents is a significant increase, do you think not?

My guess is that your math is wrong.


The 68-cent increase for a Big Mac is based on someone else's calculation (I just added the link above). The assumption in the model is that the pay raise would double labor costs--currently at 17%--and that the extra cost would be added directly to the price of all menu items. Admittedly, this model is too simple, since it assumes that McDonald's could raise prices 17% without losing business, but I still think it has value. It shows that, if demand for cheap burgers is relatively inelastic, then minor price increases in the fast food industry could pay for drastically increased wages. For me, an extra 68 cents for a Big Mac (or 17 cents for a McDouble) wouldn't be a big deal, especially if I knew it was going directly to the workers.

Of course, we don't actually know whether these pay increases would be possible at the McDonald's chains in question. That's something that needs to be decided in negotiations between management and the strikers, since obviously neither party has an interest in forcing themselves out of business. But if the restaurants can stay open, and still pay their workers $15 an hour, I think that's awesome. I have no idea why anyone would have a problem with that.
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psyche_athanatos wrote:
49xjohn wrote:
psyche_athanatos wrote:
What would their success cost me? An extra 68 cents for my Big Mac?


How much is a Big Mac? 3 bucks or so? an extra 68 cents is a significant increase, do you think not?

My guess is that your math is wrong.


The 68-cent increase for a Big Mac is based on someone else's calculation (I just added the link above). The assumption in the model is that the pay raise would double labor costs--currently at 17%--and that the extra cost would be added directly to the price of all menu items. Admittedly, this model is too simple, since it assumes that McDonald's could raise prices 17% without losing business, but I still think it has value. It shows that, if demand for cheap burgers is relatively inelastic, then minor price increases in the fast food industry could pay for drastically increased wages. For me, an extra 68 cents for a Big Mac (or 17 cents for a McDouble) wouldn't be a big deal, especially if I knew it was going directly to the workers.

Of course, we don't actually know whether these pay increases would be possible at the McDonald's chains in question. That's something that needs to be decided in negotiations between management and the strikers, since obviously neither party has an interest in forcing themselves out of business. But if the restaurants can stay open, and still pay their workers $15 an hour, I think that's awesome. I have no idea why anyone would have a problem with that.


I do! Paying them more will encourage them to be economic bottom feeders and make them content with mediocre fast food jobs! We can't have that - everyone should aspire to be a billionaire running a massive and possibly fraudulent company that spews pollutants into the air so you can buy lots of cheap, unnecessary gadgets and clothes!
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tstone wrote:
Not sure where the price per hour should be for fast food workers. But anyone who says that job is easy and anyone can do it...I'm not sure they have ever worked in food service, especially fast food.


When people say "anyone can do it" they don't mean that it's easy work. Most of the jobs "anyone can do" aren't easy, they tend to be very physically demanding and call for long hours and hard work. On the other hand, they're also jobs that require no specific educational background, no special knowledge, and no previous experience--by definition, they are jobs that "anyone" can step in and be trained to do regardless of who they are. I worked a few jobs that "anyone" can do, and worked my ass off enough to know that whatever I did as a grown-up it sure as fuck was going to be something that wasn't just for anyone, because those jobs suck.
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djgutierrez77 wrote:
tstone wrote:
Not sure where the price per hour should be for fast food workers. But anyone who says that job is easy and anyone can do it...I'm not sure they have ever worked in food service, especially fast food.


When people say "anyone can do it" they don't mean that it's easy work. Most of the jobs "anyone can do" aren't easy, they tend to be very physically demanding and call for long hours and hard work. On the other hand, they're also jobs that require no specific educational background, no special knowledge, and no previous experience--by definition, they are jobs that "anyone" can step in and be trained to do regardless of who they are. I worked a few jobs that "anyone" can do, and worked my ass off enough to know that whatever I did as a grown-up it sure as fuck was going to be something that wasn't just for anyone, because those jobs suck.


Agreed. The fact that they can train anyone to do the job just means that you are not special enough to warrant high pay. If you don't take the job, there WILL be someone else waiting for it. Working at McD's can be a drag and a lot of hard work, but it is also employment experience and there are opportunities to advance (though not great ones). This is not a bad deal for what is considered entry level work. Someone thinking of making more money in their life should not be setting their sights on McD's as a career.

Things are much easier now in fast food than they ever were before. With robo-fry machines, robo-drink fillers and picture based cash registers, the job is easier than ever (not that it is always easy). The question becomes is it worth it for fast food restaurants to automate as much as possible rather than pay very high wages for low skill work. The robos don't complain about long hours and they don't need health care. If fast food companies did seek to automate nearly everything (and it can be done) then hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of people would find themselves out of work with no solid skills and at least a few hundred thousand people, just like them, looking for another job.
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djgutierrez77 wrote:
tstone wrote:
Not sure where the price per hour should be for fast food workers. But anyone who says that job is easy and anyone can do it...I'm not sure they have ever worked in food service, especially fast food.


When people say "anyone can do it" they don't mean that it's easy work. Most of the jobs "anyone can do" aren't easy, they tend to be very physically demanding and call for long hours and hard work. On the other hand, they're also jobs that require no specific educational background, no special knowledge, and no previous experience--by definition, they are jobs that "anyone" can step in and be trained to do regardless of who they are. I worked a few jobs that "anyone" can do, and worked my ass off enough to know that whatever I did as a grown-up it sure as fuck was going to be something that wasn't just for anyone, because those jobs suck.


Agreed. Part of the reason higher-level jobs pay what they pay is the scarcity of people qualified/experienced to do them. If anyone at all can do a job it won't pay well, no matter how hard of work it may be (well there will be some ramping of pay for extremely demanding jobs like construction, etc but you get my point).
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David O'Neil
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bmhoman1 wrote:
The fact that they can train anyone to do the job just means that you are not special enough to warrant high pay. If you don't take the job, there WILL be someone else waiting for it. Working at McD's can be a drag and a lot of hard work, but it is also employment experience and there are opportunities to advance (though not great ones). This is not a bad deal for what is considered entry level work. Someone thinking of making more money in their life should not be setting their sights on McD's as a career.

It's not your responsibility to tell other people what they should set their sights on. The fact is, the service sector of our economy is huge (restaurants, retail, etc.), and there will always be plenty of people who make their livelihood this way. It's true most of these workers are relatively unskilled, but someone would still have to do those jobs even if every American suddenly woke up with a master's degree or trade certificate.

And the people who do end up working at McDonald's should have the same right to negotiate for higher wages as anybody else. If they can succeed in this negotiation, and McDonald's keeps on running, then why oppose that success? Are you concerned that people would stop aspiring to work in skilled fields? I can guarantee you that I would still prefer jobs that required education, even if I could make just as much at McDonald's. You'd have to pay me a lot more than $15 an hour to work at a fast food place again.

bmhoman1 wrote:
Things are much easier now in fast food than they ever were before. With robo-fry machines, robo-drink fillers and picture based cash registers, the job is easier than ever (not that it is always easy). The question becomes is it worth it for fast food restaurants to automate as much as possible rather than pay very high wages for low skill work. The robos don't complain about long hours and they don't need health care. If fast food companies did seek to automate nearly everything (and it can be done) then hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of people would find themselves out of work with no solid skills and at least a few hundred thousand people, just like them, looking for another job.

I think you exaggerate how close we are to full automation in the fast food industry--and I disagree with your assessment that automation makes the job easier for workers. It's not like the manger would say, "We just got a new robo-drink filler, so now you can sit on your ass because of our increased efficiency."

I also don't see any reason to oppose automation. If work can be done cheaply with machines, then why use workers? However, at this point in time, I think the fast food workers have correctly assessed (at least in their urban markets) that their services are worth more than they are currently being paid. If they are correct, then their negotiations for higher wages will be successful.
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It wasn't technically fast food, but I washed dishes and cooked at a Waffle House 11-7 shift from age 15 (I lied) - 18.

Other than standing up all night (except for half hour break), it wasn't particularly onerous work. It was way easier than baling hay or shoveling pig shit which were some of my other teen year jobs.

It did actually require some thinking/planning to get all the food ready to go to a table all at once, but certainly wasn't rocket science.

To be fair, I do feel for the counter people, restaurant customers can be real jerks and I have not had a job that required me to interact directly with them

If we are going to have a minimum wage, this seems to be an ideal job for it to be applied.

As a life experience, it was certainly a learning opportunity. Most of the waitresses were college age and I can honestly say that I knew someone that got so wasted that he fell asleep on a (hot) grill. I wasn't there that night, but it was quite a story. I'd also never seen drunk people before and we were the only open all night restaurant in town.
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http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0774473.html

This page has a table of minimum wage and inflation adjusted value to 1996 dollars.

Essentially, it looks like minimum wage value hangs between $4.75 and $5.25 in 1996 dollars. Minimum wage is at $4.97 in 1996 dollars now.

1996 minimum wage: 4.75
2013 minimum wage: 7.25

7.25/4.75=1.52 (minimum wage ratio)

http://bigmacindex.org/2013-big-mac-index.html
Some selected united states big mac prices:
In 1996: 2.36
In 2000: 2.51
In 2008: 3.57
In 2013: 4.20

4.20/2.36=1.77 (big mac ratio)

It does look like the big mac is more expensive relative to minimum wage than it was in 1996.

A "fair" wage equivalent to 1996 rates based on the big mac price would be

X/4.75=1.77 or $8.40

This was interesting tho the units are a little different ($3.99 for a big mac instead of $4.20).

http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2013/07/30/how-much...
Quote:

(deleted text)
Arnobio Morelix, a student at the University of Kansas School of Business, found himself asking the same question, so he did some financial modeling based on McDonald’s annual reports and data sets submitted to investors.

Morelix’s take: If McDonald’s workers were paid the $15 they’re demanding, the cost of a Big Mac would go up 68 cents, from its current price of $3.99 to $4.67.

A Big Mac meal would cost $6.66 rather than $5.69, and the chain’s famous Dollar Menu would go for $1.17.
(deleted text)



Based on this data, I don't think $15 is sustainable.
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psyche_athanatos wrote:
bmhoman1 wrote:
The fact that they can train anyone to do the job just means that you are not special enough to warrant high pay. If you don't take the job, there WILL be someone else waiting for it. Working at McD's can be a drag and a lot of hard work, but it is also employment experience and there are opportunities to advance (though not great ones). This is not a bad deal for what is considered entry level work. Someone thinking of making more money in their life should not be setting their sights on McD's as a career.

It's not your responsibility to tell other people what they should set their sights on. The fact is, the service sector of our economy is huge (restaurants, retail, etc.), and there will always be plenty of people who make their livelihood this way. It's true most of these workers are relatively unskilled, but someone would still have to do those jobs even if every American suddenly woke up with a master's degree or trade certificate.

And the people who do end up working at McDonald's should have the same right to negotiate for higher wages as anybody else. If they can succeed in this negotiation, and McDonald's keeps on running, then why oppose that success? Are you concerned that people would stop aspiring to work in skilled fields? I can guarantee you that I would still prefer jobs that required education, even if I could make just as much at McDonald's. You'd have to pay me a lot more than $15 an hour to work at a fast food place again.


It's also not your responsibility to tell me that it's not my responsibility, but that has not stopped you from stating your case. When teachers and parents fail to encourage someone to make the most of their potential, whose responsibility does it then become? I do feel it appropriate to help someone understand the idea of an entry-level job or first job. These jobs are not intended for long term use, but people who make a career out of them often fail to see their potential for greater things. I'm not making light of what it might take to realize that potential, but there are a great many who can move on to better things, and find a way to do so. The service industry is a very important part of the economy, and should be so, but mostly for kids in high school and college where the pay is actually commensurate with their level of experience. The idea that a fast food job should pay better than some jobs that await folks right out of college just baffles me. I'm not saying they can't bargain for better pay, but like the auto industry, they may be pushing themselves out of jobs.

psyche_athanatos wrote:
bmhoman1 wrote:
Things are much easier now in fast food than they ever were before. With robo-fry machines, robo-drink fillers and picture based cash registers, the job is easier than ever (not that it is always easy). The question becomes is it worth it for fast food restaurants to automate as much as possible rather than pay very high wages for low skill work. The robos don't complain about long hours and they don't need health care. If fast food companies did seek to automate nearly everything (and it can be done) then hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of people would find themselves out of work with no solid skills and at least a few hundred thousand people, just like them, looking for another job.

I think you exaggerate how close we are to full automation in the fast food industry--and I disagree with your assessment that automation makes the job easier for workers. It's not like the manger would say, "We just got a new robo-drink filler, so now you can sit on your ass because of our increased efficiency."

I also don't see any reason to oppose automation. If work can be done cheaply with machines, then why use workers? However, at this point in time, I think the fast food workers have correctly assessed (at least in their urban markets) that their services are worth more than they are currently being paid. If they are correct, then their negotiations for higher wages will be successful.


Yet they over assess their usefulness at $15/hour. If you're paying that amount to 2-3 workers who oversee the automated machines and reload/repair them as necessary, then I could see them making that amount. The price of fast food without further automation would go up by such a degree that very few people would find value in that kind of service. No one I know wants to pay $13 for a meal at McDonalds. I would never eat there at that price. I can prepare my own food that is twice as good for half the cost.
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As the forbes article above showed, prices would not double if wages went up. Basically, the price of their food would go up a little under 20%.

The tricky bit is how much they hide in the soda's at most restaurants but that's not in play at mcdonalds.

But at most restaurants, you are looking at $2 to $3 for a soda these days. Which is ridiculous.
 
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maxo-texas wrote:

The tricky bit is how much they hide in the soda's at most restaurants but that's not in play at mcdonalds.


If too many of these workers resent their wages, there's going to be more hidden in the soda than a high mark-up.
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bmhoman1 wrote:

It's also not your responsibility to tell me that it's not my responsibility, but that has not stopped you from stating your case. When teachers and parents fail to encourage someone to make the most of their potential, whose responsibility does it then become? I do feel it appropriate to help someone understand the idea of an entry-level job or first job. These jobs are not intended for long term use, but people who make a career out of them often fail to see their potential for greater things. I'm not making light of what it might take to realize that potential, but there are a great many who can move on to better things, and find a way to do so. The service industry is a very important part of the economy, and should be so, but mostly for kids in high school and college where the pay is actually commensurate with their level of experience. The idea that a fast food job should pay better than some jobs that await folks right out of college just baffles me. I'm not saying they can't bargain for better pay, but like the auto industry, they may be pushing themselves out of jobs.


It's true that service jobs are great for high school and college students, but there are plenty of adults working in this industry, and that doesn't mean there's anything wrong with them. Just because you don't think these jobs are intended for long-term use, that doesn't mean that many families don't rely on them for their livelihood. We can't all have comfortable middle class jobs--but that doesn't mean the worst jobs have too pay so miserably.

I don't know for sure if the $15 wage is possible, but I suspect it is in many urban markets. I'm sure the strikers have consulted with experts who think they can win, or else I doubt they would be risking so much with the strike.
 
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djgutierrez77 wrote:
tstone wrote:
Not sure where the price per hour should be for fast food workers. But anyone who says that job is easy and anyone can do it...I'm not sure they have ever worked in food service, especially fast food.


When people say "anyone can do it" they don't mean that it's easy work. Most of the jobs "anyone can do" aren't easy, they tend to be very physically demanding and call for long hours and hard work. On the other hand, they're also jobs that require no specific educational background, no special knowledge, and no previous experience--by definition, they are jobs that "anyone" can step in and be trained to do regardless of who they are. I worked a few jobs that "anyone" can do, and worked my ass off enough to know that whatever I did as a grown-up it sure as fuck was going to be something that wasn't just for anyone, because those jobs suck.


This still does not explain to me why they should get shit wages and shut the hell up and take it.

Do we honor hard work in this nation or not?

And I don't agree that "just anyone can do those jobs". I know people who can't do those jobs. That simply aren't suited to those jobs, who get fired from those jobs.

For example, I doubt just anyone from "the professions", the highly paid types, or academia, who also tend to look down on them, could just step in and prosper.

IE, I don't agree that it is true that "just anyone" can do those jobs.
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bmhoman1 wrote:


It's also not your responsibility to tell me that it's not my responsibility, but that has not stopped you from stating your case. When teachers and parents fail to encourage someone to make the most of their potential, whose responsibility does it then become? I do feel it appropriate to help someone understand the idea of an entry-level job or first job. These jobs are not intended for long term use, but people who make a career out of them often fail to see their potential for greater things. I'm not making light of what it might take to realize that potential, but there are a great many who can move on to better things, and find a way to do so. The service industry is a very important part of the economy, and should be so, but mostly for kids in high school and college where the pay is actually commensurate with their level of experience. The idea that a fast food job should pay better than some jobs that await folks right out of college just baffles me. I'm not saying they can't bargain for better pay, but like the auto industry, they may be pushing themselves out of jobs.


But where does it end? Did you fail to see your own potential because you didn't start your own business? What about if you actually don't have much potential besides flipping burgers, just because thats the way things happen sometimes, should you be cursed with a life of poverty?

Its up to Mcdonalds and the workers to figure out what works. As much as they'd appreciate it, Mcdonalds doesn't need our help demonizing the people that work there.
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psyche_athanatos wrote:

It's true that service jobs are great for high school and college students, but there are plenty of adults working in this industry, and that doesn't mean there's anything wrong with them. Just because you don't think these jobs are intended for long-term use, that doesn't mean that many families don't rely on them for their livelihood. We can't all have comfortable middle class jobs--but that doesn't mean the worst jobs have too pay so miserably.

I don't know for sure if the $15 wage is possible, but I suspect it is in many urban markets. I'm sure the strikers have consulted with experts who think they can win, or else I doubt they would be risking so much with the strike.


I can understand that point, I'm just weary of the question(/s) it begs. Does the onus to improve their wages fall upon the employer or employee?

It's easy to blame the big bad business for not paying these folks enough. But what is Average Joe doing to improve his financial prospects? Striking? That's not very conducive to long-term personal success.
 
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David O'Neil
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SPARTAN VI wrote:
psyche_athanatos wrote:

It's true that service jobs are great for high school and college students, but there are plenty of adults working in this industry, and that doesn't mean there's anything wrong with them. Just because you don't think these jobs are intended for long-term use, that doesn't mean that many families don't rely on them for their livelihood. We can't all have comfortable middle class jobs--but that doesn't mean the worst jobs have too pay so miserably.

I don't know for sure if the $15 wage is possible, but I suspect it is in many urban markets. I'm sure the strikers have consulted with experts who think they can win, or else I doubt they would be risking so much with the strike.


I can understand that point, I'm just weary of the question(/s) it begs. Does the onus to improve their wages fall upon the employer or employee?

It's easy to blame the big bad business for not paying these folks enough. But what is Average Joe doing to improve his financial prospects? Striking? That's not very conducive to long-term personal success.


Striking is simply a form of negotiation. You're right that the onus is on the workers to improve their own situation, and that's what they're doing by taking this risk to increase their pay. If $15 an hour is more than the market will support, then their risk will fail, but I have a feeling that management has held wages below the productivity of the workers.
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COMPNOR wrote:
So if you're going to be paid for doing something that menial and don't like it, why not work to improve your chances of finding something better?


A lot of people work in fast food places while they're going to school, so they could be doing exactly that.

I also notice more older people supplementing their retirement by working in such places. I don't know what other career they could be preparing for.
 
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