Still Not Getting It

Hot on the heels of the Hostess Liquidation, we’re now hearing about New York City fast food employees so unhappy with their wages, they’re walking off the job and the Unions are circling. Yes, the NYC burger flippers are discovering what you and I have known since childhood: Minimum wage jobs don’t pay well.

“They’re giving us $7.25 an hour, so many of my co-workers are living on food stamps. You can’t live on that in this city,” said one protester. “I feel I deserve $15 an hour,” said another. “I work very hard.”

Seriously. Not a moments consideration given to learning more valuable skills and moving to a higher-paid position. Not a thought given to qualifying for something other than flipping burgers. These folks think they can sit in one unskilled position all their life and it’s McDonalds responsibility to pay them an ever increasing wage for doing the same shitty unskilled job.

All of us had the choice from when we were little to do something with our lives. Teachers and most parents emphasize the importance of education and/or skills that will prepare you for the real world and allow you to support yourself and your family. You people either chose not to believe the lessons or you ignored the advice altogether. And now that you’ve now come face-to-face with the truth that Mickey D’s wages don’t pay the bills, just like you were told, your response is, “Pay me more.” For flipping burgers. At McDonalds.

I had a minimum wage job when I was 15. Pumping gas at a local Chevron Station. It was miserable and barely left me with money for gas and dates with my girlfriend. The lesson was that I didn’t want to be there long. I wanted to move up. I wanted to do better. I wanted more. So I learned and added to my skill set and became more valuable to the station. I asked to be taught how to repair flat tires. I asked to be taught how to do oil changes. I became a more valuable asset. And the next thing I knew I was working the Sunday shift alone with three bays to myself making 33% more an hour. Then I left that job for a better one where I learned more and made more. Then I left that job for an even better one that paid even more and I learned even more. Sensing a pattern?

So here’s how this will go: Corporations won’t “eat” the cost of increased wages and benefits, they’ll pass it along to consumers. When fast food has unionized, and the workers are receiving $15 an hour and have generous union benefits added, the Big Mac will cost $10-12 and the pie from Pizza Hut will set you back $35-40, before tip. Personally, I don’t eat fast food. So I won’t miss the fare. And I don’t give a damn that McDonalds, Taco Bell, Wendy’s, et. al., will cease to exist as a result, as sales plummet and costs make business unsustainable. They’ll shut their doors and the employees will be looking for jobs. Just like Hostess.

The unions will win. Evil CEO’s will lose. That’s all that matters, right?

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