Fast-food workers must face reality

Earlier this month, fast-food workers in about 100 cities across the nation staged a strike in their continued effort to get their wages raised to $15 per hour.
Dec 12, 2013

It’s hard to blame them. Who doesn’t want to make more money?

But how realistic is this goal? If this initiative comes to fruition, it would more than double the wages of many of these workers.

Fast food is big business in the United States. The industry hauled in $200 billion last year. There’s plenty of money to go around, right?

But if these employees honestly think franchise owners will simply eat the loss in profits, they’re sorely mistaken.

Instead, costs would rise dramatically. Say goodbye to "dollar value" menus and combo meals for less than $5.

Do you honestly believe families would still hit the Taco Bell drive-through if their cost for a meal jumps from $20 to more than $30? Not likely.

Additionally, when the cost of paying employees skyrockets, you can bet restaurants will quickly trim down their workforce to save money, leaving some of those who petitioned for the raise without a job.

We’re all for making the most of your employment situation, but you have to be reasonable. Fast-food workers pulling in $15 an hour isn’t reasonable. Based on a 40-hour work week, that comes out to more than $33,000 per year. A lot of skilled laborers with college degrees don’t make that much.

If this effort leads to a modest raise for fast-food workers, then their efforts won’t have been wasted. But to expect a significant jump in pay is expecting too much.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

Comments

SignalMaintainer

While I think $15 is a bit excessive for minimum wage, it does need to be raised to bring it back on par with inflation and the basic cost of living.

Moo Cluck Moo, a fast food place near Detroit, recently raised their minimum wage from $7.25 to $15/hr with great success and is doing great; and they don't have near the massive profit margins McDonalds does and it did to raise their prices a worrisome amount, so if they can do it, anybody can.

I think $15 is too much, but $9-10 seems to be a good number. The problem with minimum wage right now is the fact that it is forcing us to cover the employers shortfalls on not providing a living wage through EBT, Welfare, and other public assistance. If we raised it a bit, us taxpayers would come out quite a bit ahead. It would allow cuts to these programs (which conservatives would love), without hurting anyone.

unclejoe

Right on the money. Why should the taxpayers subsidize low wage workers to benefit a private business?

LBG53

Well said Tribune! I have a college degree and have worked for twenty years in the social service field. I made $16/hr. tops! So, once they all have a college degree or specialized training, they can start demanding higher wages. And, as far as keeping up with inflation, I worked for a non-profit and we did not get raises the last three years that I worked there. Many many people are not getting cost of living increases any more.

SignalMaintainer

I would hope that other workers wages would be adjusted accordingly to keep it ahead of the minimum wage. I think they would sort of adjust themselves quite quickly to be proportionate.

CPinSL

Stop and think about what you just wrote. IF other workers' wages are adjusted accordingly, then everyone's wages should go up, right? IF everyone's wages go up, the price of everything will go up. No net gain. Sure, your pay stub might be 25-50% bigger, but the cost of everything will also be higher, so you still don't have any more buying power.

Minimum wage jobs were never meant to be careers. They are supposed to be very basic, part-time, or temporary jobs. Employers who don't want to rehire & retrain all the time will pay more for those employees. Jobs that require little training or have high turn over (regardless of the wage - like those that are mundane) tend to pay less.

Instead of demanding that McDonalds & Burger King pay more, find a better job that DOES pay more. When the lower paying employers can't find workers at $7.50 an hour, they will start offering more. But as long as there are people willing to work for low wages, they will continue to pay them low wages.

bigdeal

Your ignorant last paragraph is just plain sad. That is EXACTLY why minimum wage has to be increased by politicians, and not left up to corporations. Rent/house payment, utilities, food, gasoline...You CAN'T LIVE on $7.50/hr, please give it a try and then get back to us with your personal experience with that, thanks. See how much you have left over to spend on non-essentials. It is why our economy is stagnant. No growth, only highest Dow Jones ever, which only helps the wealthy. Why? Corporate buybacks of stocks, which result in higher CEO pay. Viscous cycle that. The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. Maybe you believe in trickle-down too? lol

watchingyou

I'm going to go work at McDonalds.

truthhurts

these jobs should be viewed as stepping stone positions for high school students and college students, not as careers for people with families. Furthermore, if people decide to put holes the size of silver dollars in their ears and color their hair and have a nose ring, don’t expect anyone to pay you $15/hr or any hiring firm/company to take you seriously. People that do that crap and have their own business or live off other people’s hard work, that one thing. But, people need to make their appearance acceptable for a position in which they want.

watchingyou

I am a manager and the sad thing is we have to adapt to the new workforce. Management is taught and trained how to deal with this. As Ink and Piercings become more the norm, so will seeing it in the workplace. Like it or not. I have the ability to look past that and see the true person and what their skills are, not what they look like. I myself am tattooed but you will never see them unless I want you too. Times are changing. :(

truthhurts

I can look past it to and don't care what other people do to themselves...drugs included, but people that do that don't make $15/hr they flip burgers. If they want 415/hr, go to school, learn a trade, YOU EARN it you don't get $15/hr by portraying yourself as a bum

Lanivan

I was starting to get hot under the collar, truthhunts, having tattoos and a nose ring, but when you excused people who have their own business, I let go of the bad vibes.

LessThanAmused

Lani has a nose ring?!? Well, that shoots all to h*** the vision I had in my mind.....

Processing...............

I'm not sure you still shouldn't be ticked, after all he grouped you in there with people who live off other people's hard work. Of course, if you're as smart as I think you are you'll consider the source and put no credence in what was said.

Tattoos and a nose ring??? Boy we could have a great discussion on that topic!

Lanivan

HAHA! There is no nose ring or tattoos (or botox or mani/pedi's,) - why not? Too cheap! But I was just trying to rattle truth's cage a bit, but looks like I failed miserably if even you fell for it....

I actually would like to get a tat some day - maybe for my 50th birthday - 8:-D

LessThanAmused

Even I am not crazy enough to touch that last line, no matter how much I'd like to.....

It's not nice to fool the old curmudgeon either, I'm gonna have to get even now.

Lanivan

Ooooohhh - I'm all scared!

rukidding

You actually are being honest here, even if you don't know it. If you weren't scared you would already have donned the tat, and that would be the end of that.

You also blew my mental picture with your upcoming celebratory plans on the 20th, unless of course you are stuck at that number; I was aging you prematurely and for that I apologize. Somehow, and I don't know why, the picture I had was of you being closer, or had even reach 60+; like the rest of us very handsome, intelligent, oversexed people. If you keep giving us clues maybe we might be able to recognize you one day at the local pub and limit substantially the amount of funds you need to part with. Of course you will be with a gaggle of ladies that are not the dining divas and they too would be beneficiaries of the moment.

Lanivan

I can't sneak anything by you guys! Ok - alright already - I'm closer in age to your estimate, and I'm the one wearing the T-Shirt that says "I'm Only Sarcastic When I Speak" - gifted to me from Barry Soetero, whoever the heck he is, on which is pinned a "Republicans for Obama" badge. It's a great ice-breaker. My mental image of you?: The most HIOP in the room!

rukidding

I am acronym or abbreviation challenged, HIOP probably has something to do with Diagnosing a Hip Impingement or high intraocular pressure, this according to the web search. Anyway, if it has something to do with being old, wow how observant of you.

As for the badge, I could have worn that badge with a slight modification; "Republicans who gave Obama a chance and are no longer happy about their decision." Of the two bowls of crap that represent our political parties, his had more sugar and appeared to be sweeter; the sugar was only on the top and now everything tastes pretty sour and spoiled.

Lanivan

I understand. Just DLTBGYD (don't let the bastawds get you down).

Vladtheimp

IYLYHIYCKI

Lanivan

I have the perfect Christmas gift for you, Vlad! Scrap the t-shirt that says "I don't argue, I just explain why I'm right". I'm getting you a gift certificate to the local tattoo parlor, with instructions to get "IYLYHIYCKI" tattooed on your______(fill in the blank - your choice).

Now no fussing - I insist!

Vladtheimp

I might take you up on that - will you spring for "Oklahoma City, Oklahoma" following "IYLYHIYCKI"? You're a Princess!

Lanivan

If you've got the anatomy to support it, you bet!

Vladtheimp

Oh, you're good! I thought I could slip that one past you - it would fit on my arm . . . .

Lanivan

Vertically or horizontally? It might make a difference in the amount of the gift certificate.....

Vladtheimp

Unencumbered by tats or piercings, my arm can reach both elevations - but any gift certificate will be appreciated - especially before my 50th birthday. . . .

Lanivan

Elevations? Maybe I should have asked based on longitude and latitude - but that would have led to measuring the equatorial bulge, definitely not something that should be required midway through the holiday season.

Looks like we're back to the t-shirt. I'll save the tat gift certificate idea for the big 5-0.

Vladtheimp

You win - the tee shirt will be greatly appreciated. I'll refrain from providing the size in fear of the rejoinder that would undoubtedly follow.

Lanivan

Not one to beat a dead horse, and against my own advice of letting sleeping dogs lie, I would like to pursue a point your reply brings up. You won't provide a size, as you do not like to give out personal information (especially to gubmint), so I could go with a One Size Fits All shirt, but that smacks of collectivism, which is off-limits to an independent guy like you. Holy Conundrum, Batman! If there isn't already, there should be legislation to bridge this important societal void.

Looks like my only option is a gift certificate for a T-shirt - blah....

Vladtheimp

Whoopie - you finally get what I've been saying and offer me something I can use to choose something I want. If you worked for Obama you would spend untold millions to develop a website I could go to that didn't work and only offered size 6XL tees, since they should cover everybody, charge me for the additional cloth, and make me give up the Tee I have that I'm happy with and fits me just fine. You would then have your flunky tell me I'm thrilled with the choices you offered me.

You really do belong in the Private Sector, no matter what you often write in this forum !

As far as beating a certain animal, I refer you to YouTube and Niedermeyer's horse - no link due to some language.

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