Burger flippers of the world, unite!
The entitlement culture has hit the local fast food joint, as strikes and protests are popping up all over the country. So far, non-union workers have walked off the job in New York, Seattle, Detriot, and St. Louis, with low-skill workers demaning $15 an hour and a union from chains like McDonald’s, Burger King, Arby’s, Jimmy John’s, and Domino’s Pizza..
The protests are hot news on the left. There’s been laudatory coverage at People’s World, ColorLines, and by Occupy Wall Street arrestee Natasha Lennard at Salon. The stories have plently of venting from frustrated fast food employees, like this quote from The Nation from a Taco Bell employee named Caroline Durocher:
“A lot of times we’ll work ’til 4 or 5 in the morning trying to get things done for corporate people to make money,” said Durocher. “And we don’t ever see any of that money.”
Apparently Ms. Durocher doesn’t feel her paycheck from the corporate people is her seeing that money.
It’s all part of the a wider campaign for income equality. St. Louis’s “Can’t Survive On $7.35!” campaign has a spiffy website and a petition to sign. The petition asks you to agree to the following:
I support St. Louis fast food workers who went on strike to earn the living wage they deserve. No job in St. Louis, or anywhere, should pay so little that their employees have to rely on public assistance to make ends meet.
The “living wage” argument is a pet cause of the Congressional Progressive Congress, with CPC’s Rep. Keith Ellision (D-MN) telling MSNBC about their Occupy Wall Street-influenced message:
“We’re going to talk about the need to increase wages,” he said. “We’re going to talk about growing inequality, the growing concentration of wealth at the top, and how that growing concentration is not just economic but also translates into political influence.”
Congressman Ellison and the fast food strikers ignore reality; not all jobs are designed to provide a living wage. The coddling that the left media and Democrats are giving the low-skilled workers as they stamp their feet and raise their picket signs isn’t helping them adjust to the real world of supply and demand, where low skilled workers are easily replaced since there are so many of them.
For decades, fast food jobs have been considerd entry level or part time work; they are ‘starter jobs’ that teach basic work skills such as showing up on time, customer service and following basic instructions. For others, like retirees or Moms with kids in schoool, they have provided a way to be productive and bring in a little extra cash. Fast food work wasn’t designed to be a career unless a worker wanted to show initiative and become a manager.
There’s a fairly simple path to management for fast food workers with any such ambitions; do your job, show some responsibility, and most fast food restaurants provide a quick way to rise through the ranks. Many franchisees start this way.
Of course, the striking workers aren’t offering to do twice as much work in exchange for twice as much pay, nor do they have special skills that put them in demand. They just want more money.
It’s sad sign of American decline that fast food workers are spending time and effort demanding more instead of building skills and bettering themselves.
Full disclosure: Lee Stranahan finished writing this article at a McDonald’s in Arkansas to take advantage of their free wifi.