T Nation

Fast Food Strikes



Interesting.... I do not mind a minimum wage hike but $15/hour, gtfo! If fast food wages go up to $15 an hour do other jobs go up as well? For instance, some job that gets paid $12 an hour go up to $19 pr what?

'Super size my wage!'


This is one of those things people who don't understand economics and just scream for government intervention into wage manipulation don't bother to (or can't) think of.

The other side of that coin is the teenagers who aren't worth $15 and hour and will likely NOT be able to get a shit job during school because of this nonsense.

I mean it goes on and on...

You appear to be able to think, therefore expect a lot of this thread to irritate you, as many who advocate for the increase don't and use nothing but emotional appeals to back it up.


Haha, thanks for the response. I would like this thread to be a great discussion about this topic. I know it'll turn into a shit show but I find this whole topic interesting.


Most of these protestors were Union workers protesting, not real fast food workers.


There is a compelling argument for increasing the pay for workers, velocity of money, etc. However, mandating it through government intervention doesn't have the same results as an increase in pay resultant from in increase in value provided by the employee.

In fact, government mandated wage increases (whether through money supply manipulation inflation, regulation or other methods that escape me) can (not always will, but can) mitigate the positive effects of increased wages so that you end up with a net zero.

Sort of like increasing taxation to pay for government spending. It is taking money out of the economy through taxation, only to turn around and put some percentage of the money back into the economy for "stimulus". It's betting on the velocity of money principles to mitigate the negatives of removing the money from the economy in the first place. (It also makes getting reelected a fuck ton easier.) Doesn't always work that way because the reaction to increased taxes may be an unintended consequence...

ALl complex and fascinating stuff really.


Because their collective bargaining are based off of the... wait for it... minimum wage?



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The fast food industry used to be staffed with HS and college students, moms and retirees returning to the work force to make a few extra bucks. So a lower-wage structure worked for decades. Now people are trying to live off a fast food paycheck, mortgage, bills, etc. They really have zero skills, probably no education past HS in many cases.

I would guess that if their wages went up to $15/hour, the price of a horse meat burger or whatever they're selling would go up as well. Or the corporations would settle for less profits... nah... that would never fly.


Still is in many parts of the country.


I think I remember reading, but cant find it now, that the last 3 minimum wage increases actually resulted in a net decrease in buying potential of minimum wage.


I'll be honest, I don't eat there much, but outside of the management I've never been handed a burger by anyone not at least in their early 20's or with gauges in their ears...


The government should stay out. But workers do have the right to organize. I'm not a big fan of unions, but I'm also not willing to say fast food workers should just accept whatever shit wages the employers throw at them.


I agree, but what leverage do fast food workers have?


I agree with Jack, as in everyone should get paid what they are worth, and it is going to be a fight in some cases to realize that wage. Grouping together is a huge advantage, depending on what you do once grouped together.

Everyone, alone, has little leverage. It is the power of groups that gives ideas leverage.

Now, instead of protesting, if these people campaigned and focused on the communities they would see drastic changes. A mailer, talks, pamphlets etc showing the situation, coupled with one or two franchisees they openly support in the area based on their wage scales would do wonders.

A boycott just turns people off generally, and feeds anger and resentment. A campaign inspires.


Yeah, if you position is low skilled enough, you could fire the whole lot of them and have an equally trained group in there in two weeks. That's what people looking to unionize should realize, if you don't possess a marketable skill you cant really play hardball for more money. Same reason why I do not understand auto makers bending to people working on the line. You could train many people to do most of those jobs so there is really no bargaining power on the part of the unions unless the corporate office gives it to them.


Out by me, the workers are fairly young, but go into NYC and other big cities I see a lot older staff and many imports.


Here's the problem. Workers have the right to organize, but companies do not have the right to refuse to negotiate with organized workers. I have nothing against a union, as for many people it is the best way for them to get the maximum wage that they can and there's nothing wrong with wage earners taking the same capitalistic approach that employers do. The problem lies entirely in government intervention (NLRA) requiring companies to negotiate with unions.

Unions are very much a part of free markets, but in no way should they hold rights over a company. Forcing negotiation between a group and a company that has no desire to negotiate implies that the group has rights over a company that they legally have no other (ownership) rights to (Presumably, anyways. It's another story if the employees have enough ownership to influence a board decision.) An individual can't walk into his bosses office and demand he negotiate a better salary package, yet in our world if he "organizes" the company is now legally required to negotiate.

Is some cases a Union is the best scenario for all, just let companies make this decision on their own.

So you're right, the government should stay out. Unfortunately the government's fat foot is already stuck in the door.


Any fast food place always has people applying... constantly. There is no end to people who want to work there. But anyone there is easily replaceable and the turnover is fairly high.

Autoworkers.. definitely a higher skill set and the UAW protected their jobs for a long time. They've lost some of their bite in recent years. But the ripple effect of an autoworker's strike is vast. From the mines where the steel comes from to the showroom floor, they all take a hit. If a fastfood place went on strike, who would really care? Just go across the street to another place not on strike.


Interesting. I go to NYC so rarely we typically eat at $60 for a steak type places, lol.


Keep in mind also that most fast food restaurants are franchises, so organized workers would not be negotiating with the corporation, but with the owners of the franchise as that is their legal employer. These are very frequently locally owned and ownership usually has relatively few stores. Big labor is currently pushing to change this.