Fast Food Workers Walk Out, Demand Excessive Wages

Fast Food

Fast food workers across the country walked out of their jobs today.  The no-skill workers are demanding $15/hour, double the current minimum wage, for no-skill work.

The New York Daily News reports,

They want a raise with those fries.

New York fast-food employees joined thousands of colleagues from across the country in a Thursday strike aimed at boosting their salaries to $15 an hour — more than double the current minimum rate.

“I’m not going to stay quiet,” said Shaniqua Davis, 20, a Bronx resident and McDonald’s worker. “I’m going to continue to fight. … I’ve got a daughter to take care of. I struggle to make ends meet.”

Paying the bills is tough for employees who typically earn the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. The nationwide walkout, set for 50 cities, is targeting chains like McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Wendy’s.

Forbes explains the economic consequences,

Who could possibly be so heartless? That’s the wrong question. I agree that we should be soft-hearted, but to borrow from Princeton economist Alan Blinder, our soft hearts have to be combined with hard heads. While Blinder was one of the signatories to a 2006 Economic Policy Institute petition asking for a higher minimum wage, I think the preponderance of hard-headed economic theory and evidence suggests that a higher minimum wage would reduce employment opportunities for the least of these among us. Even if the disemployment effects aren’t that large, minimum wages reduce gains from trade in ways that are harder to see but that are still real.

The basic introductory economics story holds that when you raise the minimum wage, people increase the amount of labor they are willing to supply while reducing the amount of labor they demand. This creates unemployment: more people want to work, but firms want to hire fewer people. In spite of evidence suggesting that minimum wages do not cause large disemployment effects, a January 2013 study by David Neumark, J.M. Ian Salas, and William Wascher “conclude(s) that the evidence still shows that minimum wages pose a tradeoff of higher wages for some against job losses for others.”

For the record, a $15 an hour wage is more than local EMT workers, substitute teachers and correctional officers make in St. Louis.

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