Should fast food workers be paid $12 to $15 per hour?
Thousands of fast food workers are threatening to stage a "walkout" demanding the be paid a "living wage" of approximately $31,000 annually. Pouring a cup of coffee and putting a food order in a paper bag certainly is low on the scale of job skills. Should people who don't do anything to improve their education, training and experience be entitled to $15 an hour salaries?
I don't think a fast food job warrants a $12-15/$31,000 salary, but I also don't think that people should make broad generalizations about fast food workers and how they "don't do anything to improve their education, training and experience". It's an honest job, more so in a decaying economy, and it shouldn't be dismissed or brushed away as simply "pouring a cup of coffee and putting a food order in a paper bag". Not every fast food worker is a "lazy, uneducated slob", and not every corporate executive is a "hard working, intelligent man".
My intent wasn't to denigrate fast food workers. My first job was a dishwasher/busboy/carhop. Nor did I imply anyone was lazy and an uneducated slob. Some jobs are just meant to be entry level and suited for students or part timers.
I believe if a person is giving half their life (if we consdier sleeping hours neutral) to a job in order to earn a living, and the employer is a multibillion dollar operation that can afford to pay good wages, good wages should be received.
No matter how rich the company is, if this happens it is just going to raise prices. It will NOT come out of the exec's pockets. The same way that when unions strike, get raises and benefit increases, that just increases prices to increase. Greg
Nobody said they were "lazy uneducated slobs" but fast food work isn't rocket science. It should pay minimum wages for minimum skills.
Very true. Great comment.
Managers aren't making that much an hour at many fast food restaurants. In my opinion they should be paid according to experience, which is not the case now. There are high schoolers and people with 10 years experience making the same amount of money and that is sad.
With that, " Pouring a cup of coffee and putting a food order in a paper bag certainly is low on the scale of job skills." Try doing that in a rush where you have a line of people out the door, 20 drive thru orders, and in a store that is under staffed. In my earlier years I worked in fast food and I can assure you they work there butts off keeping up with that amount of orders. It's also wonderful training to move into other types of restaurants where there is good pay in management.
This leaves me wondering do you think all these people who work in restaurants are uneducated and untrained?
I must tell you from experience that it isn't the case. Our family is working the "Dave Ramsey" plan and trying to become debt free. I went to work nights at a local pizza chain delivering pizza's recently. I have 2 college degrees, a real estate license, and have years experience in both management and sales. I am sure I am not some rare thing in restaurants. I'm sure there are many like me. I make on average $15 an hour with my tips, but I do not believe fast food should pay high school kids and people right out of school $15. It should be based on experience and work ethic.
As stated above, I think my question has been misconstrued. I too know what it's like to work in fast food. Part of the McDonald's problem is the fact their chains are independently owned and each owner decides pay scales. There isn't uniformity.
Many 50-60+ workers let go from lucrative life-long jobs can't even get PT jobs at these places because they are over-qualified. Sad but true.
If that happens, most people won't be able to eat fast foods anymore. On second thought, actually, maybe that would be a good thing. my opinion, Greg.
I am not sure. I think it is much more complex than the surface level of viewing. I live near San Diego and the majority of Fast food varies dramatically from one area of the county to the other with demographics. However, those willing to accept those positions or actually pursue them today are more inclined to be contributing to family support.
In other words though it is an entry level or menial task job, it is not abundant with high school students on work experience programs with high schools today. It is people driving as far as 30, 40, or more miles to work part time hours at times. The luxury of benefits is now fluttering in the wind as a tattered flag for attracting workers as a better than place to work even with partial benefits. Health and medical for a young family is not inexpensive. Try pricing a few hospitals or emergent care facilities for a view of costs. Then ponder that crying baby and one does not know what is wrong.
In this area what was a rural setting job is now a suburbia career move, even if temporary for a year or more. My best guess estimate of age of persons at the window or counter is mid twenties to mid thirties while maintenance crews are dad personifications doing what they can with what they have in the today's job market with its on demand skill sets and required experience. I rarely see teens anymore and when I do it is within planned communities, of which I do not affix the label of suburbia as they are much different.
I talked with bicycle taxi rider / driver when taking a train to San Diego from further out in the county where I live. Those guys are very friendly with each other, yet they are more competitive then most think. Some offer free bottles of cold water as enticement for business for a 6 - 20 block tricycle trip. Consider they compete with taxi drivers and they only come to the train station as a last resort seeking a fare, yet they are there and competing. That kind of competitiveness is now inherent with those pursuing a fast food job/career and keeping one once achieved.
The complexity of firing someone is a twelve inch thick book of laws today. You really have to be careful, even though California is an "at Will employment" work state. Once one considers the magnitude of the online capacity to know almost anything for a work applicant the pool of desired workers that are willing to work for a specified wage and etc can be selective with just an application.
They should be paid what ever the market demands. Meaning we the consumer ultimately decide this. If they get paid more we will eventually pay more for our happy meals. If we don't buy the happy meals, they'll get less. I don't believe in making any determination of what someone should or shouldn't make arbitrarily. Because the economics of the situation should be dictated by the collective decisions of the consumer. In reality we are all paid what we're worth. Because what you are paid is a function of what someone else is willing to pay you. If you feel you're under paid, then go out and earn more. If you can't and nobody is willing to pay you more, than you're not worth it. If you still feel you're not paid enough then start you own business and try to convince the consumer what your worth truly is on your own for the services you propose to offer them. But too many people have these perceptions about what someone should or shouldn't be paid. It's not a right or wrong. We each have differing views on value, and that aggregate demand that comes from those differing views is what should and usually does determine what someone is paid. Even within a skill set, regardless of how sophisticated or simple it may be, there are differing degrees of productivity. And he/she that employs you must consider that in their compensation offer. Not all Lawyers and Dr's are paid the same either. Many people consider athletes to be overpaid. That again is a matter of perception. If you believe that to be true, then don't buy a ticket to the game. But enough people disagree and are willing to spend their money. There is no right or wrong in it. It's only your business how you spend your money.
Secondarily, the principle of a living wage is a political myth. If we collectively determined that a living wage was a hypothetical 70k annually. And every American was immediately increased to 70k a year in income, the 70k would instantly lose it's purchasing power. The irrefutable laws of inflation dictate that this type of increase in the velocity of money, without a corresponding increase in productivity would destroy the value of the 70k and make it the new poverty level. This is why the Fed doesn't print million dollar bills and hand them out to all Americans. More simply stated. In order for an economy to function in a free market, you must produce in excess of "X" in order to paid a total compensation of "X". Otherwise the system breaks down.
"If you feel you're under paid, then go out and earn more. " This may work for the young, but not well for older people who deal w/ age bias. It's easy to judge if you haven't been there.
I have worked at a fast food restaurant for low wages. It made me go to college while I was working there with the flexible schedule so I could move on to better pay. I really think fast food is a starting place for people to gain skills to move on
Age is only one factor in determining income. Sometime people don't get hired for lack of experience. If someone isn't willing to pay you more, than you're not worth it. If you had a skill set that demanded more income...you'd be paid more.
This is nothing more than an attempt to convert what was traditionally non-skilled entry level jobs for students and part-time workers into a fulltime career!
Just a generation or two ago there was an era where (certain jobs) were thought to be seen as "temporary" while one pursued their (real) dream job. Many of these jobs were held by teenagers. Among them were grocery store bagger or cashier, fast food servers, grass cutters, shoveling snow, shining shoes, stocking shelves...etc
These were not "careers" people aspired to have. They were "stepping stone" jobs. No kids in the school I went to said;
"When I grow up I want to flip burgers for a living."
In those days there was such a thing as a "paperboy". Today most newspapers are delivered by (grown men) driving vans. Instead of having a neighborhood kid cut lawns people are hiring professional landscapers.
My fear is that if business owners of fast food establishments are forced to pay employees $14 or $15 dollars an hour it will skyrocket unemployment among teenagers. Why would an owner take a chance hiring a fickle teen when they could hire a mature adult at that wage?
Unemployment among teens especially those living in impoverished areas generally lead to higher crime rates.
While most fast food workers don't make more than minimum wage, I still don't think their jobs are worth $15 an hour. Maybe $10 an hour after training, but not that much.
if the company decides they can afford that and wants to pay, why shouldnt they?
That's fine if the employer voluntarily wants to pay more. However, raising minimum wage to almost what I make per hour and I went to college is absurd.
Well said, Robin. I re-entered the workplace after raising my kids, and it was eye-opening indeed! We have so many who are overpaid w/ pensions for poor work performance and others ,who are deserving, not getting paid enough !
Should you be "entitled" to $15/hour? The answer is no.
You should be paid based on your abilities, the skills required to do the job, etc -- just like every other job in this country.
One of the first jobs I had was at the McDonald's on the Norfolk Naval Base. We had two aircraft carriers sitting in what would amount to our parking lot with over 10,000 sailors on them.
I was paid $4.25/hour.
Instead of whininig about not being paid for the overwhelming amount of work I had to perform for my minimum wage job, I found another job. Just like every other person in this country could do.
The difference is I made the choice and lived with my choice. These people want to be well-paid to do simple tasks as opposed to learning skills necessary to do a more in-demand job. The standard retort here is that some people can't do that because they have to provide for families -- uh, no. They are not the first who had to make that choice and they will not be the last.
If you don't think you are paid enough, then get a job that pays you what you think you are worth. If you aren't qualified for a better job, then do whatever it takes to become qualified for that job.
The whining needs to stop.
End of rant.
What year were you receiving $4.25/hour? Adjust it for inflation, then compare it to the minimum wage today, for a more accurate picture.
I agree with Chris. The economy has to have a wide range of pay scales. Fast food jobs and similar positions are meant to be entry level to the work-force and are usually lower paying jobs. More education = better pay.
Thats an interesting question. People in the fast food industry should receive a wage according to others in the food service industry. Which in most cases is minimum wage. I am not a fan of fast food, and my children and I do not go to fast food restaurants because fast food is unhealthy. But nevertheless, the workers should be paid the same as others in that industry.
Pay and benefits should be based on merit. PERIOD!
The agriculture industry is still working for peanuts. Is it fair the food handlers make more than the food producers? I think not.
I am not sure on the min, wage increase, but what I do feel is that if they passed a min wage = to say 12.00 an hour. Businesses would move to put every worker except the Managers on part time.
So if they passed it, you still would not get enough hours to to be worth it, and no further ahead. Reguardless if you argued you earned it or not.
Most franchise owners give out nothing, including service and or quality food!!!!
Like the others here wrote, get training and build your potential to earn another way.
I do believe in a living wage. You can not survive on minimum wage. Even if you have an education it does not guarantee you can get a better job. Not in today's economy. How can people pursue higher education if they struggle just to pay bills. Walmart already puts its workers on part time so they do not get benefits. Now they don't make enough or receive benefits. How are people supposed to survive? If people make more money, they can spend more money, which in turns helps the economy on a whole, which gives more jobs. The job market is not good and has not been good in a long while.
Overpaying minimal jobs just causes inflation. Unions demanding high pay for low work has driven manufacturing out of the country. That was the industry that built America and employed the most blue collar workers with good wages. Now we make nothing
Studies have proven that when minimum wage is raised, people actually lose jobs. In an attempt to keep their prices low, companies will lay off workers if they are forced to pay them more. Then they will be in a worse spot than they are now.
No they should get what ever the market will bear.
Minimum wage jobs were never intended to support a family of 4 and minimum wage should be determined by the employer rather than the government.
It is simple, if you don't like the job or the pay don't take that job.
If nobody takes the pay the employer will raise it until they get good people.
As an employer we hired at minimum wage to process parts. But once someone had learned the job and could work fast without a lot of oversight we paid them more. When they got really good they were in line for the next level of work and more pay. The last thing we wanted was to have a well trained employee who was making us money leave because someone else would pay a little more for someone who had some training.
But if they didn't learn and work hard they wouldn't move up, simple economics.
On my father's farm he had one man who just never improved even after 20 years he wasn't any more competent than he was after 1. He got a few raises over time but not many. The fact was that he got paid what he was worth and if my father had been forced to pay him more he would have lost his job.
Meanwhile our pickers were paid minimum wage & per piece and most of them actually made pretty good money. When they got really good and self motivated they got a raise in the base pay. Many of them made as much as factory workers at the time. When they got really good and learned more they got moved up to be sorters or packers and they earned even more.
A lot of people who like to say they worked for low wages when they were younger forget to incorporate inflation. Adjust your low wages as a teen for inflation and you'll see that fast food workers of today are making less than you were.
I think the other problem is that a corporation, like McDonalds, brings in billions of dollars worth of profit each year. It's not like the company is struggling to pay the bills. And, considering how many corners they cut with food quality, we know they aren't spending that money on making a better product. Is it really such an offensive concept that they use some of their ridiculous profits to give their employees (who are the backbone of the company) health insurance or higher wages?
What the corporation makes isn't really relevant, what does a particular franchise make? They are the ones paying the employees and their profit determines what they can do. It varies for each outlet (sorry I just can't call McDs a restaurant.)
It's true, a company can do what ever they want. But high profits and low wages is bad advertising, and they already spend millions on ads to make them look better.
I don't think the point is what we made when we were younger. A lot of us made less than the current minimum wage. I think the point is that when we did not like our situation, we improve our situation ourselves, didn't ask someone else to do it .
$31k is a living wage? Then as a someone with a college degree that also teaches, I do not make a living wage. I am irritated at the entire concept of paying someone $15 / hr for a job that was NOT meant to be a career path. It is an entry level job.
Where would this leave those of us that worked hard to get to where we are or that earn what we do?
What really makes this whole thing worse is the fact that, no matter what fast food outlet you go to, 9 times out of 10 they screw up on your order somehow. Half of the time the person taking your order doesn't understand you or you can't understand
Right there with you girl!
A job at a fast-food store is not supposed to be a long-term job. It requires low skills and basic education. Paying people $12-15 per hour doesn't help them in the long term.
That salary is pretty much a job killer because businesses cannot afford to pay that wage to part-time employees.
Everyone seems to want something for nothing.
That sounds a bit steep. However, I think they should be allowed to get tips to even it out, like any waiting staff. That would be my response. What the hell is going on? I made minimum wage back in the day when I worked as a food worker. I didn't have to support a family however, I was a kid. As an adult working the fast food line, that should be your 2nd or 3rd job then. Don't complain about a job that does not require the skill of a $15 an hour job. That makes no sense.
Go to school, learn a trade, and you can EARN that $15 an hr job that way. Lazy generation up ahead.
I can definitely agree to the idea of tipping. When we eat out, we tip well for a job well done.
I haven't been in a fast food place in a long time where the service or food would even warrent a tip. It's fast food for convenience.
Every person deserve to be compensated at a proper rate.Why not.
But per hour, not so for it offers and require the skill and ability too.How sophisticated the work.
They work hard and should be paid a decent wage. In Aussie they would be getting about $17 an hour . Even teenagers there are better paid . Just because they are waiters/ waitresses doesn't mean they are not educated. Someone has to do the work. I have been a waitress and know what there is to deal with everyday.
As a business owner I pay what the job is worth based on several factors, one being skill set, but more importantly what the business can afford..
To pay an employee 15 dollars an hour, cost on average for a fast food business probably close to 30 dollars an hour, social security tax, insurance, workers comp, unemployment benefits, paid vacations, training, and so on...
Now for me as a business owner to double someone salery, and for me to make the same profit margin as I do currently the question should be
CAN you afford a $12.00 Big Mac??
I know that I wouldn't want to pay 12-15 for the worker when it takes them over 10 minutes to get a four piece order in a bag.
They use to call it fast food now it is call food when I get to it.
I don't know of many people in the retail or fast food markets that make that much and I don't even with 20 years experience and two college degrees.
I have to agree with Chis in VA. I worked as a manager at Einstein Bagels, back when minimum wage was $6.25 an hour. As a manager I was making $7.25. Instead of whining about it I worked hard so that I could pay for some of my college classes.
I also looked for a better job and you know what, I found one,at an insurance company that paid a lot better. It took hard work but I was able to get the skills I needed to move up.
Now I am a single mom with two kids. I make a pretty good wage but it still just barely pays all my bills. Am I going on strike because of it? No! I went back to school and I will have my bachelor's degree within the next few months so I can get a better job.
I feel for these people. I know what it is like; but why are they striking and begging the president to help them get more wages? There is so much help out there to go back to school and improve your situation, I don't understand why they don't help themselves out instead of having everyone else do it.
More importantly and to answer your question, I do not think someone should be paid $12-$15 an hour to flip burgers pour coffee.Especially if they are not going to try to improve their situation by helping themselves. If I can work full time in an office, part time on Hub pages, go to school full time at WGU, coach my son's soccer team, teach Sunday school at church and make time for my two boys, so can they. There is no excuse.
All of your points are valid and I agree with you 100%. Think about how many times people go to a fast food restaurant, place their order and then find out it is completely different from what they ordered. Sorry, $15/hr. isn't deserved for that.
So true! Perfect comment.
Fast food workers are being paid too low already. In today's economy they should be paid at least $10 an hour because they have to deal with a lot of stress from people and their environment.
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