The chants could be heard near the MadameNoire offices yesterday as fed-up McDonald’s employees protested their wages in New York City. Fast food strikes are sprouting throughout the United States and have now reached a total of nine cities, reports ThinkProgress.
The fast food industry has swollen 58 percent since the recession, according to NBC News, the sector with the largest growth compared to mid-and-high paying jobs. But the painfully low wages that fast food corporations offer has forced two new cities, Kansas City and Flint, Michigan, to join the fight against the unsustainable wages.
Just last week, McDonald’s unintentionally broadcast how difficult it is to live off its $7.73 an hour wage. Their budget manual created for employees attempted to make their pay seem sustainable by assuming employees work two full-time jobs and pay $20 per month for health insurance. This sent a firestorm of outrage and may have caused a new wave of cities to merge with the current seven cities picketing against the fast food industry.
Workers around the country are pressuring large corporations to cave into paying their employees $15 an hour; this demand is far higher than President Obama’s push for a federal minimum wage of $9 an hour. Let’s face it, the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 is unlivable. As MN as reported before, a minimum wage of at least $14.17 an hour is needed to live a bearable life in the United States. Also, “[t]oday’s minimum wage workers have far less buying power than their counterparts did in 1968,” reports Sacbee.com
An owner of a Quiznos restaurant cringed at the thought of a heightened minimum wage. “The $15 an hour minimum wage would – I’ll tell you right now frankly, and I’m not exaggerating—it would put us out of business,” Brett Habernicht said. However, supporters of a higher minimum wage commonly use Costco as a model; they pay their employees an hourly wage of $20 plus benefits. “The company recently reported $459 million in profits from a single quarter, up 19 percent,” ThinkProgress added.
“[C]an McDonald’s sell burgers for $1 if it’s paying employees $15 an hour? Probably not,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “McDonalds has said the Affordable Care Act will cost it another $10,000 to $30,000 per restaurant.” Now isn’t the best time, when unemployment is still high, to impose the higher minimum wage strain on businesses, Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody Analytics told WSJ. “[I]t’s pretty hard to ask franchisees to try to digest the cost of health-care reform and also minimum wage at the same time.”
Whose side are you on? Do you think a $15 minimum wage is detrimental or helpful for the economy?