Fast-food wages...

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by JustMe, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Oct 15, 2013

    I've heard quite a bit about this lately. That is, the low wages of fast food workers. It seems maybe we've discussed it before, but I did a super fast search and didn't see it. So...

    Do you think fast food workers should be earning more? Or do you consider those non-managerial jobs to be mainly positions for young people or others not needing larger incomes?

    Honestly, I am torn so I'd love to hear opinions.

    ETA: Oh, and I'm NOT torn about the fifteen bucks an hour part. I think that's insane.
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think that if you work a full-time job, you should expect to receive benefits and be paid enough to secure a decent apartment, car, and essentials to clothe and feed your family. Even living frugally, these things aren't anywhere near possible on fast-food budget.
     
  4. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I was born into poverty. I was raised by a single mother that worked in a grocery store. Luckily, she was/is management. Today, after 30 years, she makes around $30K per year. Around 1990, she made about 14k per year. We lived in an apartment and then a (new) double wide trailer in a (new) trailer park. Clothes were almost all hand-me-downs. My aunt bought me shoes every year in August. We were never on foodstamps or welfare of any kind. (My mom was actually denied when she tried!) My grandparents helped some. Anyway, I know what poor feels like. I feel I need to preface my opinion by saying that I know what poverty is!

    I am 100% with fast food jobs being minimum wage. These jobs are not difficult, do not require an education, do not require a lot of training, etc... They should be paid accordingly. SOMEONE has to make minimum wage! Many of these people would qualify for financial aid to go back to school and better themselves.

    I knew what poverty was and it was not an option for me or my sister. My mother made this clear. I'm a teacher and my sister is an RN.
     
  5. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I was also raised beneath the poverty line. I agree that these jobs are not very difficult. And yes, I've worked in fast-food.
     
  6. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Yep, I saw all about it on the news too, starting a couple wks ago with the 1-day strike w/ Burger King employees. This morning, I heard about more workers at other fast food places trying to get the $15/hr wage too.

    (I wasn't born below the poverty line, but my parents & I were far from rich.) My BF & I had our discussion about it & yes, we've BOTH worked in fast food before. I don't think it will ever happen that the workers will get this kind of wage. The work isn't hard. The employees won't work any faster, harder, better, etc., even if they had this higher wage.

    If anyone's wages should be increased, it SHOULD be the teachers & a whole lot of other professions first.
     
  7. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I was not raised in poverty, but I agree with you both. Fast food workers are not required to have any kind of education and the training is very minimal. Most of these jobs are taken by HS/college students who are working part time and so they don't need anything more than minimum wage.
     
  8. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    The idea is that minimum wage should be enough that if you are working full–time you could support yourself on that salary, having enough money for medical care, food, housing, and clothing. In most places, that would be around $15 an hour.
     
  9. comaba

    comaba Cohort

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    To me, this is the reality:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-12/mcdonald-s-8-25-man-and-8-75-million-ceo-shows-pay-gap.html

    And this:

    http://www.upworthy.com/fast-food-w...ar-than-their-ceos-make-in-a-day-that-cant-be

    Most of the people working fast food in my area are not high school or college students anymore. When manufacturing jobs moved overseas because of the cheap labor, or companies moved their headquarters to other states offering better tax incentives, those decent jobs ended. Those displaced workers eventually took whatever they could to earn money, sometimes working 2 or 3 jobs to make ends meet.

    With so many of them receiving government assistance, it's the taxpayer who is compensating for their low wages, while the corporations and CEOs they work for rake in the profits.

    I'm all for capitalism, but not at the expense of our people.
     
  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    And at $15 per hour burger and pizza prices are going to rise to cover expenses. People will buy less fast food (the idea of fast food is that it's quick and cheap)... (and when you weigh in that now with Obamacare,thiefe fast food places with more than the required number of workers may cut dwn on scheduled hours to avoid paying for healthcare...) Leading to lay offs...not seeing how that helps anyone. I empathize for anyone for whom a minimum wage job is their sole substinance...however, I just don't think most minimum wage jobs are 'designed' to be ones on which one would support a family....there's just not enough money eing charged per burger to pay the higher wages those workers want...
     
  11. Major

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    I don't think there should be any "law" which dictates minimum or maximum wages. I'm sure I'm in the minority here ...... but that's OK ......
     
  12. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Oct 15, 2013

    That wouldn't be enough here. Maybe two people each making $15 an hour. Maybe. But that's a COL issue, I realize, so I'll get back on topic. :blush:

    I've though about this issue, and my main question is - what about everyone else? Retail employees are poorly paid. So are many office positions - administrative assistants, for example. They might make slightly above minimum wage (although I know retail is usually right around minimum where I am), but they still don't make enough to live on.

    Also, if fast food workers are going to make $15 an hour (I know that won't happen, this is a hypothetical), then professional wages (teachers, for example) would need to go up as well. Jobs that require more education and training SHOULD be paid more. Otherwise, why bother getting the education and training in the first place?

    I don't really know any solutions - I only see the problems. I know many people with college degrees who are SEVERELY underemployed. There are so few jobs here, and the jobs that do exist don't pay enough to live on. It's hard for me to sympathize with the plight of the fast food worker when college graduates can't even find a job that pays enough to support themselves.
     
  13. Danny'sNanny

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    I worked at a nice preschool through college.
    When I started, I made a "good" wage, several dollars above minimum.
    Each year, minimum wage went up, but my pay did not.
    The year I graduated, minimum wage went up past what I was making. So then I had a degree in ECED, and was making minimum wage.
    As minimum wage goes up, the people making a little above it get hurt. Prices for groceries, etc go up, and their salary isn't as "good" anymore.

    It drives my hubby bonkers when we see WalMart type jobs advertising $12/hr, when he makes $14/hr working in his field with a 4 yr degree, doing what he went to school for. And his paychecks at $14/hr are bigger than mine as a public school teacher, so what does that say about our pay?
     
  14. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    One of the biggest problems in this country is income disparity. The wealthy have fared very well over the past couple of decades and their share of the wealth grows and grows while the rest of us tread water or go under.

    So yes, we can pay low level employees more if only our CEOs and top executives were only getting a smaller slice of the pie.
     
  15. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    IMO only the tax dollars benefit from raising the minimum wage.
    To solve the problem, get the gas prices lower. That in turn lowers shipping of goods. It allows people to travel to local parks and visit local area businesses even 15-60 miles away. High gas prices took away the phrase 'If you have a good product, they will come to you.'

    If they raise it to $15 an hour, salary employees like ourselves still get nominal taking away even more middle class.
     
  16. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Not disagreeing, just playing devil's advocate...but those CEOs and top executives probably have advanced degrees in their fields or at the very least years of experience in their field...why should they not be paid their current salaries?


    I don't have a solution either....
     
  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    It is interesting to see people making the argument that we teachers would suffer if the people making less than us starting making more money (closer to what we make). A few years ago when teacher salaries were all over the news and we were all accused of riding the gravy train, people in other professions made the same argument about why we teachers shouldn't be paid more--because it would hurt those who make more than us now.

    There's an old joke where a peasant says, "My neighbor has a cow and I have none, I want his cow to die." Hmm....
     
  18. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    I *highly* doubt that would happen. That's like saying with gas price hikes people will buy less gas. Not true. How many big, stupid SUVs do you still see on the road? Plenty. Do people take the bus more? No. They drive and fill up their tank and just grumble about the prices. I think the same thing would happen with fast food. The habitual clientele of fast food chains are not people who are going to make a stand against raised prices. Or make a dietary change because of them. They'll be irritated with the price hike, while they chow down on a greasy burger.
     
  19. comaba

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    We're already paying more for that burger when you factor in the taxes we pay to support the $7 billion that minimum wage workers rely on in government assistance.
     
  20. comaba

    comaba Cohort

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    As for the CEOs, their pay has grown exponentially over the past 30 years. Not at all in keeping with CPI or COL. That's the disparity.

    There is a bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10/hour within 2 years. After that, increases will be tied to CPI. I hope it passes.
     
  21. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    I certainly don't think that a top exec should make the same as an intern, however...

    Some facts about income disparity in this country:

    The wealthiest 400 people have more wealth than the bottom 50% of Americans. That's 400 people's wealth = half of America (150 million people). I would say that wealth is highly concentrated at the top.

    CEOs now make 354 times that of their average worker. In 1980, it averaged 42 times.

    It's like having a pie where the CEO gets the whole pie and the crumbs are shared by the rest of the work force.

    We haven't had trends like this since the gilded age.
     
  22. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I have to get to work. I don't have to buy fast food (and it's an EXTREMELY rare occurrence anyway).

    In reality, consumption does drop off when gas prices increase:
    http://blogs.reuters.com/commodity-corner/2009/03/11/us-gasoline-demand/

    And in tough economic times, fast food companies must lower prices to keep customers coming in:
    "Fast food restaurants tend to fare better during an economic downturn than pricier restaurants do. Consumers living on a tight budget in a bad economy often turn to fast food chains for inexpensive meals, according to “The Economist” magazine. However, the magazine notes that a long-term recession makes even fast food restaurants vulnerable to profit losses if consumers eat at home more often to save money. In such cases, big restaurant chains may respond by cutting their prices further and increasing advertising to lure consumers back to their restaurants. Smaller chains may not have the budgets to do the same to protect their profits."
     
  23. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    [​IMG]
     
  24. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I knew the small population of the wealthiest people equaled a huge amount of the rest of the population. Thanks for the information!
     
  25. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    You have to get to work, but you don't have to drive to work. You could take a bus, carpool, ride a bike or even walk. Sure it would probably take longer to ride a bike, but it's possible. Will you make the switch to a bike ride because gas is more expensive? No. Because it's too inconvenient to the lifestyle you already lead. The same is what happens with fast food places. Sure, some people will eat at home more, but most of them will keep up their habits no matter the price.

    In economic recession ALL businesses suffer. But we're not talking economic recession. We're talking a fast food chain raising their prices. They'll still be the cheapest, quickest option. People will still buy. Plus, like was mentioned before- instead of taking the price raise to the consumers, owners could take it out of their ridiculously high pay. Ya know, in utopia where people actually care about other people.
     
  26. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I agree with those who have said or implied that if fast-food workers are paid $15 hourly that other salaries should increase as well. Not only other hourly positions but professionals ones as well. As another person asked, what is the point of me earning a master's degree plus if I could have skipped those years of college, nights of paper writing, and thousands of tuition bills if I'll make only slightly more?

    On the other hand, I appreciate the point another made about jobs leaving the country and forcing those former factory workers to these pretty crappy hourly jobs. My stepdad lost his job to Mexico, but thankfully he found another high-paying factory position. Many of coworkers opted to have their college paid for through that one initiative/bill (sorry...I don't recall specifics) about ten years ago.
     
  27. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Several people hit on it, and I mentioned earlier- SOMEONE has to make minimum wage. Raising their pay will only cause more inflation. We'll all get COL adjustments and they will be back on the bottom again.

    I will admit- overinflated corporate salaries are a problem in America. Does someone need tens of millions per year? Nope. I don't care what company they work for. They do deserve to be paid well, but I think some are paid a little too well.
     
  28. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    We cross posted. I took forever to type mine :)
     
  29. bros

    bros Phenom

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    The minimum wage should at least attempt to rise with inflation, instead, it has stayed stagnant for decades.
     
  30. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Preach it!
     
  31. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    I get really upset when I hear how much athletes get paid. I also get upset when I hear how little teachers make.
     
  32. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    But Lucy - what about the people who live in an area without public transportation? Take me for example. There are no busses. No trains. I live 25 miles from my job, and I live here because BF works 25 miles in the opposite direction. Nobody I work with lives in my town, so carpooling is out. So, technically, yes, I could walk or bike 25 miles along I-95 to get to work. That's going to take quite awhile, and it would be rather dangerous, seeing as I already leave long before sunrise.

    I think it's very easy to make assumptions about what people could do... we just have to remember that not everyone has the options that seem obvious :)
     
  33. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Czacza lives in New Jersey. She can expect snowfall anytime from the start of November until mid March. When it's not snowing, winter temperatures are frequently in the 20's and teens, and temps in the single digits aren't terribly rare. And then there's the ice-- both black ice and the type you can actually see before you ride over it.

    That bicycle is going to be a problem for the vast majority of the school year.

    A bus? Not from my home to my job. Not from my home to my husband's either.
     
  34. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    The thing is, she could make a change, but she won't. Because it's inconvenient. That's my point. It's inconvenient to ride a bike or a motorcycle or vespa or something. It's easiest to take a car. It's easiest to buy fast food. People won't change. Even though they could.

    25 miles on a bike is really not that far. But that's besides the point.
     
  35. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Folks have already hit on it, but I'm adding myself to the list of people who cannot rely on public transportation to get to work. I live 40 minutes from work and have to my daughter to school so riding a bike or carpooling is not an option for me either.

    giraffe~I agree that CEOs and top execs don't need to make tens of millions of dollars. If you have so much money that you don't know what to do with it all, then you're making too much. But we live in a country where sports athletes make a lot more than teachers, firefighters, police officers, and soldiers; where actors make 6 figure salaries and then complain because they aren't making 7 figures; where someone can build up a business from nothing to a multi-million dollar business. And I don't see this changing anytime soon.
     
  36. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    It would be if you have a passenger.
     
  37. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Yeah, I don't believe you're fully thinking this through.
     
  38. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    In 20 or 30 degree weather?? in SNOW????

    Have you ever ridden a bike, even a half a mile, in SNOW??

    People will make the changes that provide a reasonable result for a reasonable effort.

    When I was a kid, there was no such thing as recycling. There was no such thing as 'energy efficient" anything, from light bulbe to cars. Ther were no Carpool lanes on the LIE. The car I drove in college was an 8 cylinder Monte Carlo-- until the Energy Crisis came along.

    People have made these changes and others because someone came up with a reasonable way to do them.

    Asking anyone to ride a bike 25 miles in the cold to work, then bike 25 mines home ion the Jersey Turpike n the dark is not reasonable. Asking people to give up conveniences on the chance that it will force a corporation to do as you hope is not reasonable.

    Making a living wage for a day's work is reasonable.

    But I don't think this is an American issue. I think that the wealthy in any economy are wealthy because they don't give their money away. Whether your'e the CEO of McDonalds or the elite of any nation, I'm guessing that you make the choices that will do the most for your bottom line.
     
  39. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    So, I Google-mapped my route on a bike. It comes in at 2 hours and 3 minutes. So I'd be leaving my house at 4:30am and riding my bike on the shoulder of I-95 in the dark. I'd have to stay late at work, because I wouldn't be able to carry all of my crap home. Then I could ride back down I-95 during rush hour traffic in the late afternoon.

    It sounds like a really excellent way for something really horrible to happen.
     
  40. Math

    Math Cohort

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    Well I wouldn't want people offering $5.25/hr....
     
  41. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    It is ILLEGAL to ride a bike on the shoulder of an interstate. The government won't allow it. If you do, you could be arrested and your bike impounded.

    You would have to find back roads that are also dangerous because many have no shoulders.
     

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