PIC POV: Fast Food Workers Strike

** PIC POV – Performance I Create’s microblogging series where 2 or 3 members discuss a hot HR topic**

Justin Harris aka @unlikelyHRguy –

I personally feel as if the word “Deserve” is thrown around too loosely.  I also understand taking a job to make ends meet…but if a wage is agreed upon, why do we think that it should be raised because of my personal situation…especially if I’m merely meeting the expectations?  I barely get smiles, eye contact or a welcome when I’m waiting for my burger…and I always have to park and get out of my car to go in to get a straw!  

Everyone wants more for what they do, that’s natural. And that desire should fuel employees to do what’s necessary to make that come to fruition. What that desire shouldn’t do is inspire employees to attempt to strong arm employers into doubling their wages.

Having worked in both retail and call center environments, I know all too well that you do not always get what you pay for when it comes to quality service. The chicken cannot come before the egg in these workplaces. Raising wages across the board for performance that may not warrant it, will drive the company out of business sooner than any negative economic shift. When unearned increases are granted, it pacifies for a while, then 2 months later, the “I need a raise” grumbles ramp back up.

So there is another, more productive way to double your wage when working at a fast food establishment:

  • Set realistic progression goals
  • Stand out by providing service for the wage you want, not the one you have
  • Take advantage of the resources that the company is providing for advancement (training, educational assistance, etc).

McDonald’s is the poster child for developing and promoting from within. Of the company’s top 50 executives, 40 percent started in the restaurants, some as hourly employees or manager trainees. While flipping burgers may not be sexiest job, it helps knowing that the duckling can become a swan if it’s treated right.

Chris Fields aka @new_resource –

I’m a softy I guess. Or I’ve seen too much poverty in my life. I’ve also seen a lot of hustling too, and when I say hustling, I mean drug pushers, pimps, robbers and prostitutes – you know, criminals. So I try not to look down on any person doing a hard day’s work for an honest day’s pay. There will always be low skill jobs and a low skill labor market. Because of the recession many have taken lower paying jobs and alternate career paths. My point is not all low wage workers or in this specific instance fast food workers are uneducated and deserve low wages. Of the millions of fast food workers there are some with degrees and certifications.

There are several fast food giants with thousands of employees, serving millions of customers, earning billions of dollars and almost exclusively using unskilled labor. According to the Bloomberg Report McDonald’s had revenue of $26.5B in 2012, Wendy’s earned $2.5B, and Burger King came in at $1.97B. That’s plenty to give a small pay bump.

Fast food workers are berated, abused, disrespected and ridiculed. Some of the attacks have made the news and gone viral. I’m not sure if I agree with an across the board $15 pay rate, but I do think there should be a tier process increase. The minimum wage in the country is too low. We are a rich nation. We love to show off our jewelry, cars, posh vacations, and lavish lifestyle so I support increasing the minimum wage – you can handle it you’re a baller!

Unions are becoming more and more irrelevant – they were the main reason the beloved Twinkie went away. Luckily a non-unionized organization bought the company  and was able to bring back the snack. I understand the union complicates things but the right to peacefully organize is protected by the NLRB and in this case, I kind of hope the fast food employers get a little more pay … and respect.


2 thoughts on “PIC POV: Fast Food Workers Strike

  1. I don’t eat fast food because I don’t like the product: crappy food served with a crappy attitude.

    As long as the drive thru line at the local McDonald’s is busy companies aren’t going to
    change their business practices. Upset that fast food places don’t pay a living wage? Stop eating there. Instead, go to places that treat their employees better such as Trader Joe’s.

    1. Excellent comment. Trader Joe’s is a prime example of a company that values and respects their employees and do not use them as a dispensable tool to move their product. If they can do it, WalMart and McDonald’s can too.
      I only order a large unsweet ice tea with lemon from MickyDs.

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