The McDonald’s Wage War

source: nationofchange.org

source: nationofchange.org

It’s pretty much common knowledge that McDonald’s only offers minimum wage to starting employees. I have just discovered, however, that there have been organized protests three times thus far to demand an increase in wages. This “wage war” involves thousands of fast food workers from cities all over the country.

The demand: an increase in wages to 15 dollars per hour.

I understand (almost too well) that it’s difficult to live on crew wages. But I am also aware that sometimes McDonald’s is the only job available. They hire frequently, and they will work around any schedule—sometimes, it’s the best option.

Here’s my take on it. There is no way McDonald’s will raise wages to 15 dollars per hour. It just won’t happen. McDonald’s is very strict on its labor percentage already. As a manager, I constantly have to check that percentage every hour to make sure we don’t exceed budget for that day—there is very, very little leeway.

If McDonald’s employees were paid 15 dollars an hour, that labor percentage would be even higher. By doubling wages, we would have to run the restaurant with half the people—I wonder if anyone even thought of that.

At the end of the day, McDonald’s is a business. They will continue to do whatever is in the best interest of the company. Since the restaurant opened, is has always been a minimum wage gig—people knew that when they got hired, and it never seemed to be a problem.

Maybe the answer here is not to bash McDonald’s for something they have been doing for decades.

As the cost of living increases, minimum wage does not increase in tandem with it. If we saw a reasonable increase in the federal minimum wage, working at McDonald’s (or any fast food place) would provide a more stable income.

It’s easy to go on strike and protest at local restaurants… but what is that accomplishing? It will end up doing more harm than good. I fear that popular belief will come to be “every McDonald’s worker is bitter because they get crappy wages to do something they hate.” These protesters are not representing the nation’s fast food workers.

I know people who have worked at McDonald’s for 10, 15, 17 years. They agree that working at McDonald’s is difficult, but they are wise enough to understand that the problem lies elsewhere. These are the people that should be representing the workers’ interests.

I don’t want to be part of the wage war. I have struggled to make ends meet the entire time I’ve had my job, but I have never felt hostile towards McDonald’s as a company.  Minimum wage needs to be increased, but McDonald’s won’t be the one to do it. I’ve learned to accept that. Can you?

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