Former McDonald’s CEO: Robots Cheaper than Low-Skilled Workers Demanding $15

McDonald's workers and supporters rally outside a McDonald's, Wednesday, April 15, 2015, in Chicago. Fast-food workers calling for $15 an hour are picking up some more allies Wednesday. Airport workers, home care workers, Walmart workers and adjunct professors are among those set to join in the fight for $15 protests …
AP Photo/M. Spencer Green

Robots may soon render impotent the strikes and bullhorns of fast-food workers demanding a $15 minimum wage.

A former McDonald’s CEO is warning that humans may soon be out of the equation all together, because robots are simply less expensive.

“I was at the National Restaurant Show yesterday and if you look at the robotic devices that are coming into the restaurant industry — it’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee, who’s inefficient, making $15 an hour bagging French fries, ” former McDonald’s CEO Ed Rensi said during an interview on the FOX Business Network’s Mornings with Maria.

The lower cost of robotics comes as minimum wage workers and labor unions across the country demand ever-higher minimum wages for low-skilled work, something Rensi indicated is foolish.

“It’s nonsense and it’s very destructive and it’s inflationary and it’s going to cause a job loss across this country like you’re not going to believe,” he said.

According to the former McDonald’s CEO, the move to robots makes “common sense” and is likely to accelerate as low-skilled workers demand more money for work a  robot could do.

“Well if you can’t get people a reasonable wage, you’re going to get machines to do the work. It’s just common sense. It’s going to happen whether you like it or not. And the more you push this it’s going to happen faster,” Rensi added.

Such a development — replacing human labor with robots — would be an additional hit to low income workers already struggling to compete for jobs, in many cases, against often cheaper foreign workers.

Amid the calls for an artificially high minimum wage, Rensi suggested an alternative pay scale that should be up to the states.

“I think we ought to have a multi-faceted wage program in this country. If you’re a high school kid, you ought to have a student wage. If you’re an entry level worker you ought to have a separate wage. The states ought to manage this because they know more [about] what’s going on the ground than anybody in Washington D.C.,” he added.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.