Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Fast Food Workers Strike For Better Pay And Rights

NEW YORK (AP) — Workers at McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's restaurants across New York walked out Monday in a one-day strike to demand better pay and the right to unionize, calling for minimum wage to more than double from $7.25 to $15 an hour and the end to what activists called "abusive labor practices."

"It's noisy, it's really hot, fast, they rush you. Sometimes you don't even get breaks. All for $7.25? It's crazy," said Nathalia Sepulveda, who works at a McDonald's opposite Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, where one protest took place.

Outside the McDonald's as well as a Wendy's in lower Manhattan, workers chanted "we can't survive on $7.25" and "supersize our wages." At the Wendy's, the crowd shouted at customers not to go in and two police officers were stationed inside.
Read the rest here.

Not a huge fan of unions here, but this is clearly a case of abusive labor practices. $7.25 an hour in New York City? That's scandalous. I am not sure about a $15 hr wage, but they are absolutely right to call out their greedy employers on this issue. And frankly they are doing it the right way. Instead of asking the government to interfere they are exercising their individual rights to band together and demand better wages and working conditions. This is the libertarian approach.

I wish them luck.


Unknown said...

You obviously don't understand much about economics, do you? You think that a skill set that is limited to operating a cash machine or flipping burgers is worth $15?

John (Ad Orientem) said...

You need to reread my post. I specifically expressed doubts about their demand for a $15 hr wage. But I do know that $7.25 hr in NYC is immoral.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Nobody is forcing anyone to live and work in New York City. If McDonald's is not paying these people enough, then they can leave and parlay their valuable skills elsewhere.

The incentive at this point is for McDonald's to pay a few higher-g individuals $15/hour to run the machines which will replace all those $7.25/hr employees.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

I don't see why people should have to run away from their homes if they are being taken advantage of by their employers. I concede that they do have that right. But they also have the right to stay and fight for a fair wage.

Gregory DeLassus said...

The incentive at this point is for McDonald's to pay a few higher-g individuals $15/hour to run the machines which will replace all those $7.25/hr employees.

Bracketing my skepticism about the existence of "g," I think that this is a perfectly fair response. It would be no tragedy if McDonalds were able to replace fry-cooks with robots. It is hardly a very rewarding and glamorous job.

That said, color me skeptical that McDonalds can pull it off. Grocery store chains around the country are closing their self-checkout lanes. It turns out that customers prefer interacting with human checkout clerks, and also it is harder to shoplift with a human clerk standing there. I imagine that McDonalds would experience the same downsides if it tried to install self-service kiosks in place of their $7.25/hr-workers.

In any event, I think that John is right that the workers' actions are largely unobjectionable. They are not asking the government to raise the minimum wage. They are flexing whatever market-muscle they have to show that they are capable of commanding a higher wage. Like John, I wish them luck.

Stephen said...

Pity nobody asks why is it so expensive to live in New York. The answer is of course the same thing that brought down Detroit, namely featherbedding, rent-seeking, cronyism, corruption and the unholy alliance of public unions and Democrats. Only New York has the taxes-generating machine of Wall Street to pay for its largesse, whereas Detroit had ultimately nothing.