McDonald’s workers gathered outside McDonald’s headquarters in Illinois yesterday to protest the only company willing to employ them. The workers were demanding that their wages be raised to at least $15 – thus ensuring that many of them would lose their job.
Restaurants and retail chains have been ramping up their transition to the use of touch screen and electronic kiosk ordering systems to save on labor costs, thus eliminating cashier jobs. Do these protesters honestly believe their job won’t be put in jeopardy if the cost to employ them rises dramatically while the cost of the touch screen service alternative becomes relatively more cost-effective?
Beyond that, those jobs that won’t be replaced by technology will be threatened by more skilled people suddenly drawn by the higher wage. In other words, middle class college students, for example, who wouldn’t work at McDonalds for $8 an hour will find it worth their while to work there for $15 an hour. The demand for McDonald’s jobs will increase, enabling McDonalds franchise owners to be more selective in their hiring decisions. Goodbye high school drop-outs, hello middle-class college students looking to help pay tuition.
In short, raising wages to $15 an hour would crowd out the low-skilled workers via technology and higher-skilled workers right onto the unemployment like. Then what options will they have? These protestors are naively protesting against their own employment.
Always in search of more publicity, NC’s own William Barber joined in the ignorance, and perhaps revealed a dose of hypocrisy:
The Rev. Dr. William Barber II, head of the NAACP’s North Carolina chapter, led the march onto the sprawling McDonald’s campus. “We can’t treat corporations like people, and people like things,” he said. “A living wage is a moral mandate, and it’s time for McDonald’s to pay fast-food workers their just due now.”
Unfortunately, if Barber were to get his way, the “just due” many of these fast food workers would receive is a ticket to the unemployment line. How is that “moral”?
Lastly, as noted previously on this blog, the NC chapter of the NAACP was looking to hire summer help. Has anybody asked Barber if these workers receive the ‘living wage’ of $15 an hour that Barber insists is a “moral mandate”?