Big Mistake: Fast food workers demand $15/hr, full-time, and benefits

Having been inundated with campaign ads decrying the wealthy, who seemingly got their riches at the expense of the poor, low-wage workers are putting their collective foot down.  First it was Walmart employees who threatened to walk out on the retail giant’s busiest day of the year, Black Friday.  Now it’s fast food workers putting their hat in the ring.

(Yahoo News) — Last week, about 200 fast-food workers in New York City walked out of their workplaces—chains affected included Burger King, Wendy’s and McDonald’s—to demand a “living wage” of $15 an hour and an end to the practice of keeping workers on part-time hours to avoid giving them benefits or overtime. The employees also want to form a union for the city’s estimated 50,000 fast-food workers to negotiate pay and benefits.


Most fast-food employees, he noted, work part time and are paid minimum wage ($7.25 an hour), so they don’t make enough money to support their families. “Many have to rely on public assistance,” Westin said. “The taxpayers are fronting the bill for what these multibillion corporations are refusing to pay in wages and benefits.”


“You can’t raise a family on minimum wage,” Pamela Flood, a Burger King worker with three children, said onstage at the rally. “With food and diapers, my paycheck is gone after two days. We need a change.”

Who put these crazy ideas into these worker’s heads?  Labor unions.  Why do labor unions do this?  Because there’s only an up side (union dues), and no down side for them.  It’s not difficult to see that demanding fast food employers raise the salaries to $15/hr, guarantee full-time hours, and provide benefits such as health insurance is seriously bad news for these workers once you remove the emotional rhetoric and get to the real-life consequence of such demands.

If wages and benefits reach the levels which are being demanded, does anyone really think these restaurants will continue to hire the same kinds of people they currently employ: low skill, low education, low experience?  I seriously doubt it, not if they’re paying $15/hour, full-time, full benefits anyway.  If they think they have it rough at minimum wage, just wait until they’re passed over for more experienced and educated workers.  Now that it costs more than 2 times as much to hire someone (when you include the benefits) the number of job positions will be greatly reduced, at least by half.  The restaurant’s management can now be far more selective in their hiring, they won’t have to hire just anyone.  There will be far fewer jobs available, and the candidate field will be exponentially more competitive.

Consider this, fast food jobs aren’t worth $15, they’re just not, which is why they aren’t paid a “living wage” (defined differently by everyone) to begin with.  Entry level fast food service jobs aren’t intended to be sufficient to raise families.  This isn’t to say people don’t try to support a family and household on minimum wage, they do.  But it’s not the responsibility of the employer to pay you at a rate commensurate with your own personal expenses, they pay what the work is worth.  The protesting workers have been fed a lie.  They have been told — and they believe — that a person should have the freedom to choose any job (or whatever job they qualify for), and that job should just pay whatever they need to support their lifestyle.  This is quite a lofty view of the world.

And what happens to the prices of the food served at these restaurants?  Well, when labor costs double (or more), the costs of employment are passed along to the customers.  When the cost of the product skyrockets — which it necessarily will — this will result in fewer customers.  Fewer customers means fewer jobs making the field that much more competitive.

Doubling the pay of, or unionizing the fast food industry would be disastrous for the current worker.  If they think they will be behind the counter ringing up your $12 Big Mac, they are in for a rude awakening.  Gone will be the days of teens, the retired, and the uneducated flipping burgers and taking orders.  Their replacements will boast of bachelor’s degrees, and extensive experience in restaurant management.  The labor unions who led the charge will put up a fuss and cause a commotion, but at the end of the day they will be satisfied with whatever exorbitant dues they can squeeze from the workers because that is their main concern.

I urge the fast food workers of America to either be satisfied with the wages you agreed to when you voluntarily took the job.  If you can’t support a household on the pay, you either need another job or more education so you can qualify for a better paying job.  Be realistic about your situation.  You’ll be sorry if you get what you ask for.


For those of you who are unfamiliar with what the purpose of a labor union is, THIS is what they do.


  1. It’s amazing how stupid people can be. Like, they can’t realize that all you accomplish in raising minimum wage is to change the amount the poor make. They will still be poor, since the cost of living will rise right along with the wages. As you said, fast food jobs aren’t for people trying to raise a family (unless they are management). Entry level fast food jobs are a stepping stone, not a career.

  2. SR, your compassion for these people and their plight is overwhelming. (yes, that *is* sarcasm). I’m betting you feel that nurse’s aides shouldn’t be paid more than fast food workers for wiping and diapering one’s elderly, incontinent bum. Of course, when it’s your bum that’s getting seven dollars an hour worth of cleaning, you may feel differently about that.

    I believe Republican, conservative baby boomers are going to be in for a very rude shock when they have to bear the brunt of their greedy, self-promoting, lack of compassionate ways of thinking in their own lives. Better be good to your kids because they’ll be choosing your nursing home. ;)

    You see, you may have a lot of money and be in one of the best nursing home facilities, but these places still employ cheap labor because they want to make money, (yes, like everything else, it’s a business), and one really does get what they pay for.

    Karma can be a bitch and very rightfully so..we really do get what we put out here into the world, attitude-wise and etc.

    • Warrioress

      Ithink you are missing the post. I am not making a judgement as to what these people are worth, merely what the job itself is worth. You reference nurses aides, I don’t know what they pay, but its irrelevant to the point of the post. If nurses aides make min wage, they probably should make more. My wife did a job similar to what you describe and made about $10/hr and that was 8-9 years ago.

      The point is that you can’t expect to make such inflated demands and not expect consequences. Look at Obamacare for example. Look how many workers are being laid off or having their hours cut to under 29 per week. I bet all those people thought now that the law passed, theyd have health insurance. But now not only do they not have insurance, they have less hours or are out of a job as well.

      Sometimes what you think is a good idea has dire unintended consequences.

  3. John,

    We as a society should not accept or allow these kinds of dire consequences. Nurse aides & Home health aides make probably about 8 dollars an hour, at least here in Texas they do; they don’t receive decent health insurance unless they are full time employees and often this is only at a large nursing home facility; the rest of the aides struggle along the best they can, using the ER for preventative health care.

    This is ridiculous! We aren’t living in the dark ages any longer. We are all human beings and health care should be a right in our society, not something one must “afford” in order to live a healthy, preventative-care kind of life. It comes down to what a society values for its citizens. Obviously, we in America have not valued the lives of one another very highly and as followers of Christ, I find that to be an abomination.

    You might find some of my more recent posts to be intriguing because they mock the right’s stance on healthcare as opposed to the philosophy of Jesus Christ as an example. What if Jesus hadn’t been willing to heal pre-existing conditions, in other words? How absurd, right?

    Yes, indeed it is.

    I find a great deal of the conservative point of view that many Christians espouse to be completely lacking in what Jesus Christ actually taught and preached. We do not value what we should in America and many of us as Christians do not value what Christ told us to value. We value what should not matter more than what should.

    • Warrioress

      It sounds like you’re saying it is incumbent on an employer to pay at a rate sufficient to cover the employee’s living expenses. How is it that they should have to pay what they are told to pay? Especially when they have no moral duty to exist as a business in the first place and could close shop at any time. Just because a business exists doesn’t mean they are at the mercy of the worker, its kinda the other way around.

  4. John.

    Employer’s doesn’t show nor give mercy, nor will close shop if it gives profit.
    The employer pay for employee’s property: employee’s work.
    Without workers the employer would have no profit. (If moves to another bussiness stills needs workers or own work, if rents property needs a worker who make money and pay the rent).
    Of course, I agree with you that an employee shouldn’t be paid anything the employee want. But on the other way round, and employer shouldn’t also pay anything the employer want.

  5. Nonsense, Isu. The employer can pay whatever rate of pay will attract the type of employee he needs to have. His decision to grant any level of pay is already dictated by that dynamic. If no one will work for $1/hr, he’ll have to raise that rate until he gets takers. If he wants to cut his own throat by paying a low wage and/or never granted raises, that’s his own decision. Conversely, it is the decision of the employee to decide if he can tolerate working under those conditions, and even more so, it is the employee’s decision to base his lifestyle and the expenses of such on the amount he is able to earn by working for such an employer.

  6. marshalart
    You are confusing “can” with “should”, be the employer or the employee.

  7. What I’m saying, John, is that there needs to be an increase in the minimum wage that an employer *must* pay to people like nurse’s aides, fast food workers, etc. The minimum wage should be a living wage. No one deserves to have to work for wages that they cannot live on successfully. This isn’t China, for goodness sake!

    The greed of these business owners who don’t care about their employees will come back to bite every single baby boomer in the end when they have to personally deal with what they’ve encouraged through their greed and selfishness; as I said, you get what you pay for…. it will come back to bite you in the end and well it should.

    • So then, Warrioress, you believe that every occupation should pay enough to support a family and household? Newspaper boys, babysitters, etc.? What if the fast food worker wants to live in a 3500 sq ft home on 3 acres of land with 4 children? Perhaps at the interview the employer should find out what all interviewee’s bills are than they should have to pay that?

      What you are saying is so thoroughly unrealistic.

  8. I’ve had to pay my own employees a decent wage when I cared for my grandmother who died of Alzheimers for ten long years, in my early twenties. It wasn’t easy to pay those folks a living wage, but I cared enough about my grandmother that I wanted to keep my employees around. We didn’t want to experience high turnover and unreliability because of poor wages, not to mention the questionable ethics of taking advantage of people like that.

    What I’m saying is not at all unrealistic, John, and you as a Christian should be the first to understand and agree with me. You’re using hyperbole in the above example, which makes for a relatively poor argument in your favor, btw. What’s is unrealistic is the sick, inhumane thinking that wants to keep someone at slave’s wages so that those who think as you do can aquire more and more at the expense of those desperate to make a living.

    (I’m speaking of adults with real jobs, not paper boys (children) or little girls babysitting for a few bucks as a first job).

    • I don’t know if you’ve noticed but paperboys are adults now.

      Just because I’m a christian doesn’t mean I have to be unrealistic when it comes to economics and business. What you describe is not fair. You want wages high out of pittyfor people who think every job should just pay what they need to survive.

      In fact middle aged adults who work min wage jobs do so because of a life time of making poor life decisions when it came to their own education, circle of friends, and recreational habits. Now that they’re grown they think they deserve a do over to their liking.

  9. Warrioress,

    You don’t seem to be helping your case. YOU paid your own employees what YOU felt was a “decent” wage. So do most, if not all, employers. But, did you poll your employees, or simply make a decision as to what is “decent”? Let’s assume you did and based your giving accordingly. What if next year, they feel that it is no longer entitled to the term “decent”?

    Also, who gets to decide what constitutes a “living wage”? You or the employee? At some point, your business and your ability to make it profitable will be affected by those decisions and the wage MUST be held to a level that allows for profits.

    Also, by “living wage”, are we talking about merely surviving, or having a real life, with savings, vacations, dinner and a movie now and then, a car that isn’t over ten years old held together with duct tape, the ability to weather the unforeseen without risking one’s home and possessions…?

    The problem with far too many people is that they choose their lifestyles first, living them without thought to the expense of it, and then demand that employers finance that lifestyle regardless of the type of work being done for them. The opposite is forsaken by too many, that one makes choices based on the amount of earnings one is able to acquire from one’s labors. For those, like myself, who have tried to do the latter and ran into the unforeseen (layoff) and struggled to find employment that matched the previous, at least in terms of earning power, cutbacks in lifestyle is required and employers are not the least bit responsible for making sure such people don’t lose a beat. Sure, it’s tough. That’s the employee’s problem, however, not the employer’s.

    This is not to say that any employer should not be as generous as possible, but it is up to the employer to decide based on what is best for the enterprise he heads.

  10. @John
    “In fact middle aged adults who work min wage jobs do so because of a life time of making poor life decisions when it came to their own education, circle of friends, and recreational habits. Now that they’re grown they think they deserve a do over to their liking.”

    I have a B degree in Industrial Electronics and Automatic Control Engineering and I’m actually unemployed because delocalization and economic crysis.
    I have savings and, for the moment, the unemployment wage but maybe I will be forced to apply for another sort of job. I’m also learning German to emigrate in search for a job.
    If I would apply for a fast food work I would have to hide my CV, because they won’t want someone who will leave at the first chance of getting a better work, so a less qualified person will have better chances than me.
    In my last job the enterprise gross cost for me was about 29,30$ per hour (extra hours not included), with lefts me about 14,80$ per hour after social security and income taxes.
    I got the sack because there were no more projects, which I find reasonable, and I was given an 1200€ bonus for my good work.
    Of course, I don’t expect to have the same wage being a fast worker nor I find just I would earn the same than in my previous work.

    The problem I see with actual way of capitalism interpretation is that by lowering employe wage, be by employer greed be by competitive prices, the market supported by those same wages has shrunk.

  11. Neither am I poor, for the moment.

  12. Gentlemen,
    I won’t continue to belabor my stance here. It’s your compassion I’m attempting to speak to; I don’t care to meditate on your business acumen. You would understand what a living wage was if you were in another man’s shoes having to deal with one. Pray that you both never are; God is amusing like that, though, and you may discover a reminder in the future and will hopefully remember our little chat.

    I don’t expect you to pay your employees in an unreasonable fashion. I stated that a minimum wage that allows for rent, food, clothing, medicine, health care, (also known as the basics of life), is what we need to begin paying adults, no matter their job. I’ll leave it at that. The majority of folks agree with me. Thankfully, you gentlemen are the exception to the rule, and I expect you’ll continue to be in the next election as well as the one that just passed. No offense intended, but your ideals and values are outdated and belong to the dinosaur era. Compassion needs to rule the future of America and the world.

    • Warrioress

      I have been in that situation and it never once occurred to me that it was my boss’ fault that I wasn’t making my bills. I knew I was working a job, not a career. I knew telemarketing wasn’t a job that paid what I hoped. I knew what it paid in the interview.

  13. No offense intended, Warrioress, but the more people feel like you, the fewer jobs will be available. You are pricing everyone out of business by making demands of jobs that require no skills. Where’s the compassion there? The real problem is that there are too many grasshoppers and fewer ants.

  14. Warrioress,

    Standard Leftist rhetoric. It has to be greed doesn’t it? If a job isn’t worth more than minimum wage (an artificial construct by those who have no vested interest and will lose nothing by their anointed demands, and which has caused loss of jobs, increase in cost of living, etc every time it’s raised), why should they pay more? Ah, socialism, that’s why. Those horrible rich people are just greedy and they should be forced to share what they have! Baloney.

    “We as a society” have no right to tell employers what to pay. If they don’t pay enough, they will not get workers. No one is forced to work for minimum wage! I took a minimum wage job when I got out of the Army, because it was the first job available and I didn’t sit on my duff demanding welfare. BUT, I took the job with the intent of seeking better employment, and I continued applying for other jobs for the six weeks I worked minimum wage until I got hired at a job that paid almost twice as much. But guess what, I still looked for better work and 3 1/2 years later got the job that became my career. That’s what minimum wage jobs are for – to give you something while you look for something better. DUH!

    And why is it everyone expects employers to provide health and dental insurance?!?! (I’ve never had dental insurance, by the way). Do the employers provide life insurance, car insurance, home owners insurance, etc? Why do you think they should be in the insurance business? Why is it the LEFT always thinks everyone owes them something?!?!

    Leftists always talk about “compassion”; everything is based on feelings. Feelings can be anything you want them to be. Your “compassion” is only for the worker and to hell with those greedy capitalists pigs who rob their employees. Of course it never occurs to the Left that they aren’t greedy because that wouldn’t fit with your logic fallacy.

    Your twisting of Scripture to make Jesus into your own image of what you want Him to be doesn’t agree with what the Bible really says about Him. You, and other Leftists, always presume what Christ would do with our political system, health care, etc. You see him as the champion of the social gospel, which is one of those other gospels Paul condemned.

    The more I read stuff from you, the more I begin to realize that the “Christ” you follow is not the one identified in the Bible.

    By the way, “karma” doesn’t exist. And real Christians know that.

  15. Darn, I forgot to subscribe to comments!

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