Originally published September 15 2014
Fast food workers use 'civil disobedience,' to earn higher wages for low-skill jobs replaceable by robots
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) No one ever said that flipping burgers and making tacos should be a career, but unfortunately too many fast food workers have bought into a bogus bill of goods being sold to them by unions, politicians and others that their "profession" is, well, a profession and they should be paid like it.
Unfortunately for them, they are choosing to make the wrong stand for the wrong issue at exactly the wrong time in history.
Recently, fast food workers decided to take a day off of work to protest the wages that they are being paid by an industry that, honestly, has a slim margin of profit, when you consider what individual small-business franchisees make. Their gripe? They want $15 an hour, and, worse, they think that they deserve it.
As reported by The Hill, fast food workers from a number of major U.S. cities including New York City, Detroit and Chicago were arrested for blocking traffic in front of their employer restaurants while demanding the unusually high wage.
In all, the website reported, protests were held in about 150 cities around the country, the seventh such protest in recent times.
'We are worth it'
"At [the] strike, fast food restaurants will see firsthand that workers are willing to do whatever it takes to win $15 and union rights," said Kendall Fells, the organizing director at Fast Food Forward, which receives funding from the SEIU, the Service Employees International Union, The Hill reported.
Restaurant workers say that anything less than $15 an hour is simply not a living wage. But that may or may not be true, depending on a number of factors such as location of the job and cost of living in that part of the country.
They also say that they are worth that much money, but if that were true, then they would already be making that kind of wage. Also, when you consider that other skilled workers with a great deal of training and education -- paramedics, police officers in many cities, teachers, licensed practical nurses, X-ray technicians and so forth -- are not even paid $15 an hour in most places, it's tough to justify burger flipping and order taking as skills worth that level of pay.
The workers have said that forcing fast food restaurants to pay double what they are paying now will mean less government assistance and, thus, an eased burden on U.S. taxpayers. But it is not the duty of a business owner to "ease taxpayer burdens" or otherwise provide societal relief; he/she is in the business to make money, and employees are one way in which he/she is able to do that.
Restaurant workers have complained that, hey, franchisees can afford the higher wages, but in most cases, they cannot; paying workers more than they are worth will result in one of two things, or both: 1) higher prices for customers -- higher than many are willing to pay or can afford to pay (which will eventually result in closure of the business and no more $15-an-hour jobs); and 2) fewer employees.
Raising your wages right out of a job
That second point brings up this issue: growing automation within the fast food industry.
Already, there are robots that can do many things in a fast food restaurant, especially in the food preparation areas -- like make hundreds of custom burgers an hour. From Gizmag, which reported in 2012:
Hamburgers are a multi-billion dollar business, and while fast food chains have got the process down to an efficient production line process, making them is still labor intensive with armies of burger flippers and sandwich assemblers. In a move that could put millions of teenagers around the world out of their first job, Momentum Machines is creating a hamburger-making machine that churns out made-to-order burgers at industrial speeds and aims to use it in its own chain of restaurants.
Attempting to strong-arm or blackmail fast-food restaurants into paying a wage that far surpasses skill levels seems like a silly way to try to get a raise, since it will cause restaurants to raise prices or cut staff and will lead to more joblessness in the long run. It's better to get an education or, barring that, a second job if necessary, to pay your way through life.
In America, you can still do that.
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