Thursday, April 04, 2013

New York: Fast Food Workers Strike

They work for some of the biggest businesses in the United States, yet they are among the country's lowest-paid workers.

On Thursday, fast-food workers staged walkouts at McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell and other restaurants in New York City to call attention to their plight. Organizers scheduled the job actions to commemorate the day Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated 45 years ago in Memphis, where he was supporting a strike by sanitation workers.

"It's not enough," Elba Godoy, a crew member at a McDonald's just a few blocks from Times Square, said of her $7.25-per-hour minimum wage, which helps support her extended family of seven. "They don't like [that we're out here], but we have to do it. We cannot survive on $7.25."

Godoy and her colleagues are seeking a raise to $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation. The walkout is part of a national movement by low-wage workers to raise wages and gain rights.
Read the rest here.

I think this is a great example of a libertarian response to abusive behavior by employers. The employers are clearly taking advantage of their workers. I mean come on! 7.25 hr in New York City is scandalous. What's more is that the employers know that most of their employees are paid so poorly they qualify for welfare and food stamps. In effect this is a tax payer funded subsidy for greedy corporations. Liberals argue that the answer is to raise the minimum wage. But that's a lousy idea because while $7.25 hr is outrageous in New York City there are some places in this country where it's an acceptable albeit low paying wage and raising the minimum wage might kill the jobs in question.

The correct answer is that workers, being the free agents of their own labor should have the right to get together and collectively tell their employers to cough up or go without their services. The article suggests they are shooting for an unreasonable wage ($15 hr) but that is probably just a bargaining ploy. In any case McDonald's etc. should be ashamed of paying people in that area such a low wage. I wish the employees luck in their battle and would boycott fast food in support except of course Lent kinda covers that. And in any case I swore off fast food over a year ago for health reasons.


Anonymous said...

I had to re-read that NY wage, I was so surprised. Here in Fargo, ND, I saw just yesterday a sign on a local fast food restaurant advertising a starting salary of $10/hr!

Dave Halt said...

Of course there are multiple forces at work. Greed being the chief. You see this in the Multi-Nationals who prefer lucre to people. However, let's not forget the consumers who insist on cheap (quality & price) value meals, and who frequent these places rather than their local establishments that may pay higher, cost more, but qualitatively improve their communities.

But, hey, I trend toward Distributism.