Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ballard Taco Bell Workers Walk Out as Nationwide Fast Food Strike Hits Seattle

Posted by on Wed, May 29, 2013 at 11:06 PM

A rolling nationwide strike of fast food restaurants hit Seattle tonight, as workers at a Ballard Taco Bell walked off the job to demand higher wages and the right to organize without retaliation. "It's the right thing to do, and that's all it comes down to," 21-year-old Caroline Durocher told me while preparing for the 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. shift on which she earns the Washington State minimum wage of $9.19 an hour.

photo-1.JPG
  • Goldy | The Stranger

Local organizers expect workers at dozens of Seattle restaurants representing several national fast food chains to join Taco Bell workers tomorrow in a citywide strike. Similar fast food strikes have already hit New York City, central Pennsylvania, Chicago, Detroit, and St. Louis. But while these one-day strikes are related, they are organized locally by coalitions of community groups. In Seattle, organizers from Good Jobs Seattle—a campaign supported by OneAmerica, Washington CAN, and labor-backed Working Washington—reached out to local fast food workers and found them quickly receptive.

"Local organizers came into my store and said we want to help you make a living wage, and I said "Awesome," explains Durocher. "I want to make a living wage, so let's do it."

Durocher says it was an easy decision for her and her coworkers. "What we're getting right now isn't fare and not right," complains Durocher, who works an average of only 27 hours a week. "I would love to work more, but they keep us all just below full time so that we don't get benefits." As for fear of retaliation for the walkout, Durocher says that she was surprised by how unanimous it's been. "Not one single person has said 'what if we get fired?' Nobody is afraid. It's really cool."

According to statistics provided by Good Jobs Seattle, there are approximately 33,000 fast food workers in the Seattle metro area, earning a median wage of $9.50 an hour, one of the lowest wages of any occupation in the region. It's poverty wages like this that helps make the popular "dollar menus" possible, but Durocher says that customers overlook the impact it has on fast food workers. "It's easy to not think about the person serving you your food," says Durocher. "We definitely get disrespected a lot and looked down upon for being in fast food."

It's this lack of respect that striking workers are also striving to overcome, both from the public and from their employers. But while unions are supporting their efforts, this isn't your stereotypical union organizing drive. "It's not like we're forming a union, we're forming a movement," says Durocher, who credits the example set by Occupy Wall Street for some of the inspiration behind the movement. "I think people saw that people can organize and can have a voice," says Durocher.

As for what she and her co-workers hope to get out of the movement, Durocher stayed firmly on message: "I hope we get a living wage, and the right to organize without retaliation." And thus a movement is born.

UPDATE (12:42 a.m.): Initially, only Durocher walked out, although another off-duty co-worker joined her on the picket. Durocher says her other nonsupervisory co-worker on the three-person late night shift "chickened out at the last minute," but she understands her reluctance. "We fast food workers can't afford to lose our jobs," says Durocher. "We need them."

But eventually, after further conversation with Durocher, and despite a steady stream of traffic into the drive thru, the other two workers shut down the Taco Bell two hours early "due to short staffing." Whether or not you can classify that as a "walkout," the end result was the same.

closed_early.png

UPDATE, UPDATE: A Lake City Burger King was forced to shut down after all the employees walked out.

 

Comments (62) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
1
uh uh uh uh crap can they give us the recipe for the beefy 5 idk how to live
Posted by taco fan on May 29, 2013 at 11:16 PM · Report this
2
OH GOD THIS IS AN EMERGENCY UGH UGHHHH
Posted by taco fan on May 29, 2013 at 11:19 PM · Report this
3
Typo. "fare" is used when you meant "fair"
Posted by Faber on May 29, 2013 at 11:26 PM · Report this
Lew Siffer 4
I used to make 3.85 at Dairy Queen. I knew it was a dead end job for teens or losers. I guess these skilled burrito technicians should be making 30 bucks an hour, what would we do without their fine craftsmanship?
Posted by Lew Siffer on May 29, 2013 at 11:27 PM · Report this
Zebes 5
Golly gee! Don't these nincompoops know you work a bit in a fast food joint, then you move up to management, then you start your own business, then you grow it and hire others, and sooner or later you're a millionaire who owns your own company? That's just how it WORKS in this country! Get with the program, bumpkins!
Posted by Zebes http://www.badrap.org/rescue/index.html on May 29, 2013 at 11:32 PM · Report this
6
Ballard Taco Bell employee here.
"Workers?" She's the only one who walked out. Also, were franchise owned, not corporate. So any message she's hoping to drive to corporate Taco Bell is completely misfired.
Posted by krityan on May 29, 2013 at 11:33 PM · Report this
chaseacross 7
It'd be a real boon for this country if every McJob employee walked out. Every job that's not for the after school set ought to pay a living wage, period. At least then we wouldn't be papering over our maladjusted economy by having the working poor cobbling together a living wage with two or even three part-time jobs.
Posted by chaseacross on May 29, 2013 at 11:47 PM · Report this
Ballard Pimp 8
@6, maybe you should read the article again. The walkout doesn't start for another hour.
Posted by Ballard Pimp on May 29, 2013 at 11:48 PM · Report this
9
@Ballard Pimp.

I live within earshot of this thing... they're definitively out there and have been since 11.
Posted by Fid on May 29, 2013 at 11:52 PM · Report this
10
@8, Nope, started at 10:30.
Posted by krityan on May 29, 2013 at 11:57 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 11
Fast food is still consumed? It's like GMO food but worse.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on May 30, 2013 at 12:12 AM · Report this
raindrop 12
@7 - What you'd like to see, and what employers do or chose not to do, are two different things. You can't force a business owner to remain in business if it doesn't want to because there's little or no profit after payroll is met.
Posted by raindrop on May 30, 2013 at 12:18 AM · Report this
13
@12 Oh, yeah, we know it's so tough for those job creators who sell sugar water and waffle tacos at massive profits.
Posted by Who'll Think of the Job Creators on May 30, 2013 at 12:35 AM · Report this
litlnemo 14
Krityan: employee, you say? Possibly a shift manager or some one else who has an interest in downplaying the strike? Looking for a promotion?
Posted by litlnemo http://slumberland.org/ on May 30, 2013 at 12:48 AM · Report this
15
Better change "workers" to "worker." But wait! Accuracy is only for the Seattle Times, right Goldy Fuckwit?
Posted by Unbrainwashed on May 30, 2013 at 1:00 AM · Report this
Goldy 16
@15 Read my update.
Posted by Goldy on May 30, 2013 at 1:07 AM · Report this
17
Change the headline. Or don't your headlines have to tell the truth? And beyond that, the fact that only one worker walked out pretty much eviscerates the whole story and requires that it be rewritten, ya lying, lazy fuckwit. Oh, but wait. Only the Blethens are lazy liars, right?
Posted by Unbrainwashed on May 30, 2013 at 1:50 AM · Report this
18
I'm with @4. Sorry, chica, but "everyone gets a trophy" ended after 5th grade. You may have missed that message... but the rest of us are out busting our butts to make more than minimum wage... and we're also bringing more to our work than tossing an insufficient amount of beef-flavored soy chunks and plastic cheese into a cardboard tortilla shell soaked in Doritos filings with a side of diluted corn syrup.
Posted by pheeeew!crack!boom! on May 30, 2013 at 1:58 AM · Report this
19
I was there tonight and no krityan is not trying to downplay it. The other employees were given the option to walk out and unanimously decided they were against it. I'm a manager there and I support my employee's right to strike or not. It was just sad for those who did decide to stay because they got punished for it by having to deal with the yelling the chanting while just trying to get through their work day. And we are indeed a franchise. This franchise has a lot of good people leading it and they really do try to take care of their employees but they have limits as all businesses do. I think something like 20% of our profits are automatically paid to Corporate Taco Bell as royalties and with the rest we have to run the stores, buy the food, and pay the employees. This is a great cause and I support it 100% but things definitely need to change at the corporate level in order for our owners to better be able to take care of us. And this is just my opinion, I'm not trying to get a raise or promotion. There are good people in this company who I enjoy working for and believe in. I wouldn't be here if I didn't. I could go work at any crappy old Taco Bell and get paid the same and treated worse by people who don't have standards and don't care about their employees. I can't definitely say that is not the case with this company and it saddens me that Caroline feels that way.
Posted by Ygriega on May 30, 2013 at 2:15 AM · Report this
20
@18 I bust my butt everyday actually, and people sure do get pissed off when no one is there to fill those cardboard shells with insufficient amounts of beef flavored soy don't they? I'm not saying we should make $15 an hour, that's a little ridiculous, but it would be nice for my employees to be able to make a living and support their families. Sorry that we're not good enough for you to be allowed at least that much
Posted by Ygriega on May 30, 2013 at 2:27 AM · Report this
21
@19 i'm sorry you believe in your job... they really have gotten to you.
Posted by Agrippa on May 30, 2013 at 5:08 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 22
They had to close because one worker left their shift early?

Who the hell is making the schedule over there? That is just bad planning.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on May 30, 2013 at 5:18 AM · Report this
TVDinner 23
I think it's courageous to fight for your dignity and a living wage. I'm really disappointed by the contempt shown in this thread. She's right: people treat fast food workers disrespectfully.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on May 30, 2013 at 5:35 AM · Report this
Kinison 24
Im curious as to how Goldy Fuckwit makes a living wage writing crap?
Posted by Kinison http://www.holgatehawks.com on May 30, 2013 at 6:01 AM · Report this
Puty 25
Wow, some people on this thread sure are terrified of workers who want to be paid enough to live on. You guys are so skeered! Poor babies.
Posted by Puty on May 30, 2013 at 6:21 AM · Report this
26
I'm impressed and proud that she and the others are fighting
for a decent wage and, hopefully, benefits. Those workers
have a hard job and deserve no less. We won them sick leave
via city ordinance but this step is theirs, with public support.
If their wages go up then the motivation is there for everybody's
wages to go up.
Posted by rights on May 30, 2013 at 6:22 AM · Report this
DOUG. 27
Imagine there's no Taco Bell
It's easy if you try
Posted by DOUG. http://www.dougsvotersguide.com on May 30, 2013 at 6:51 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 28
Actually, I've been quite successful at imagining there's no Taco Bell, even though there's one a block away from me. I haven't eaten at one in about 20 years now.

Seriously, who in their right mind would eat that garbage? I wouldn't feed it to a dog.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on May 30, 2013 at 7:07 AM · Report this
29
@19: Ygriega wrote, "And we are indeed a franchise. [...] I think something like 20% of our profits are automatically paid to Corporate Taco Bell"

You can tell yourself it's an independent business, but it's really part of PepsiCo. It's a walk-in vending machine cleverly arranged to suck profit out of the area while leaving most of the risk in the hands of a regional manager who probably thinks of himself or herself as an owner.
Posted by Phil M http://twitter.com/pmocek on May 30, 2013 at 7:19 AM · Report this
30
Minimum wage at 20hrs a week is about 10k. At 40/hrs it's 20k. That's enough for one person to survive on. 2 people at minimum wage at full time is 40k. That's enough to barely support a small family, isn't it?

I mean, there's no trips to London in there, no five-star meals, no champagne, maybe even no car, and no home ownership, but are we saying we want to guarantee people access to those things? We're also talking about people keeping a minimum wage job for life, and I don't think that's something we want to encourage. What we do want to encourage is people acquiring more skills and earning more money.

Also, I'm completely supportive of these workers' rights to organize and bargain collectively. But they're not going to get much more than they have now. The business model they're a part of depends on people who have no relative skills working for very little.

I know this is barely coherent, but here this: do we think people "deserve" a certain standard of living, and if so, what is that? (Remembering that minimum wage nowadays gets you a way better standard of living than most people enjoyed in times past.)
Posted by hotairinky on May 30, 2013 at 7:56 AM · Report this
31
Too bad most SLOG readers/commentors could not last an 8-hour shift at Taco Bell regardless of the wage. Most wouldn't work there for $75k a year. It's crushing work.

I feel a little bad for Ms. Durocher, she's definitely losing her job.
Posted by fetish on May 30, 2013 at 8:22 AM · Report this
32
Ugh, what a bunch of trolls in this thread.

I'm excited to read about this strike. There's no good reason for Pepsi-Co and corporate leaders to profit lavishly while their front line workers endure starvation wages, unpredictable and insufficient schedules, and the disrespect of the general (uninformed) public. These jobs should pay well enough to be a stepping stone (like the entry-level union-protected jobs of the past that used to exist prior to the shift to a service economy in the 1980s, to remind all of those people who feel free to comment but apparently have missed the last 30 years), rather than the trap that they so often are.
Posted by handsome dog on May 30, 2013 at 8:29 AM · Report this
Rotten666 33

Yeah, you don't get more than minimum for bending tacos. Sorry, it's a job for teenagers. If you are in your 40's, slaving away at the the bell and trying to raise a family, well that's your fuck up.

Every poor person I have ever met has had an excuse as to why they were poor.

Posted by Rotten666 on May 30, 2013 at 8:58 AM · Report this
34
With Goldy's outrage over people not getting paid a fair wage for their work I'd bet he'd be horrified if people are paid nothing for their work...oh wait doesn't the stranger use unpaid labour, but not one rally cry from goldy to get the stranger interns paid. I guess what's good for the goose isn't good for the gander...
Posted by j2patter on May 30, 2013 at 9:04 AM · Report this
35
How about we start this wage fight with workers at jobs who actually do something marginally beneficial, like retail or grocery? If you're a grown-ass adult working fast food you're doing something wrong.
Posted by The CHZA on May 30, 2013 at 9:06 AM · Report this
36
Not noted so far in comments: "...Durocher, who works an average of only 27 hours a week. "I would love to work more, but they keep us all just below full time so that we don't [get] benefits." "

This is why we need Obamacare, or better yet, Medicare For All
Posted by trusam1 on May 30, 2013 at 9:15 AM · Report this
Pridge Wessea 37
Most of the people in this thread are heartless bastards who think being poor is a moral failing. I haven't worked fast food but my mom did because it was a shit economy and my dad, through no fault of his own, was hurt severely on the job and couldn't work. L&I is a safety net, not a replacement. My mom had previously stayed home to take care of her kids, and had been out of the workforce for years and had no college education.

I wish everyone could start extremely poor so they could learn just how "easy" it is to somehow magically make something of themselves without the resources or structure that many here were lucky enough to be able take for granted.

Reality check - next time you hit up a fast food joint (or place like it), take a look around and see how many people aren't teenagers just starting out. Then try and understand how someone might end up doing that work and have some compassion for once.
Posted by Pridge Wessea on May 30, 2013 at 9:22 AM · Report this
38
Not noted so far in comments: "...Durocher, who works an average of only 27 hours a week. "I would love to work more, but they keep us all just below full time so that we don't [get] benefits." "

This is why we need Obamacare, or better yet, Medicare For All. How's anyone supposed to pay for health insurance, or health care @ fee for each service, on $20K per year? Or, in this case, $12,500/year before FICA?. Much less dental or save for retirement?
Posted by trusam1 on May 30, 2013 at 9:22 AM · Report this
T 39
I'm torn on this. On the one hand, I absolutely support fast food workers' right to organize and demand more of their employers, and I find these corporations' anti-union actions to be appalling.

But on the other hand, fast food work a limiting low-skill job. It should be viewed as a stop-gap or a stepping stone, worked by teens and maybe college students to build work experience and get a modest paycheck as they work toward something greater. It's not a feasible career, nor should it be. I knew when I worked at Blockbuster during college that it wasn't my future, nor was the experience even that relevant to the career I was working toward. But the paycheck helped me keep my head above water and I got to watch a bunch of movies in the process.

This will play out however it plays out, and it won't affect me in the slightest, as you couldn't pay me to eat the dog food these places sling.
Posted by T on May 30, 2013 at 9:25 AM · Report this
40
@36 That's 100% true. In Canada where I worked a bunch of min wage jobs, including 1 year at a taco bell, employers loved full time employees, they're much easy to schedule for.
Posted by j2patter on May 30, 2013 at 9:31 AM · Report this
Pridge Wessea 41
@35 - can you please provide a list of jobs that are marginally beneficial vs those that aren't? Is all retail "marginally beneficial" or just some? What's the dividing line? Which provide better benefits for the self and family?

I'm sure poor people with limited options can't wait for you to tell them what jobs they can or shouldn't take based on your moral outrage at their employment and all those marginally beneficial workplaces I'm sure are there with open arms, willing to either add to or replace their current staff to make it happen. Especially since unemployment right now is hovering at 0% all over the country and those who worked at moderately beneficial positions still have their jobs and aren't forced to take things below their skill level because that's all that's available. And the economy has been perfect for years and nobody is underwater with their mortgages either and anyone who works hard enough can be anything they want unless they're lazy fuckwits... right? In fact, if you're not a CEO on multiple boards, you just didn't work hard enough and should be treated with contempt by anyone who has a better job than you.

So yes, please provide a list of acceptable employment options immediately.
Posted by Pridge Wessea on May 30, 2013 at 9:36 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 42
Reality check - next time you hit up a fast food joint (or place like it), take a look around and see how many people aren't teenagers just starting out.

Huh, nobody here is a teenager or just starting out. But they are all illegal immigrants, probably working for far less than the miminum wage.

Your white, Seattle privilege is showing.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on May 30, 2013 at 9:38 AM · Report this
43
@39 I agree. I don't think that it makes sense to start at the literal bottom rung of the job pool to try to improve anything. It doesn't make any sense to demand a "living wage" for a job that a sad sack of an adult can pick up just as easily as a kid looking for some summer cash.

If you're flip-flopping gummy bears into ice cream at Coldstone Creamery and complaining about not being able to support your family, you need to get on a different pathway, not demand more money. I don't think it's the job of Our Corporate Overlords® to compensate people for having no skills.

And I strongly, strongly doubt the majority of the workforce in fast food is made up of "career individuals" in the first place. People don't even work at decent places like Dick's for more than a few years, and that chain is the local mensch of the business.
Posted by The CHZA on May 30, 2013 at 9:44 AM · Report this
44
@42 -- Like we don't have Mexicans in Seattle.

I promised myself after my first job (Chic-fil-a at 15) I'd never work food service again. I broke that promise for five days when I bused tables at the IHOP at E Madison and Broadway. Here's an empathetic FUCK.THAT.SHIT. for all the people working fast food. Thank goodness I got hired as a Kelly Girl.

You can't organize fast food workers. They're part of the less-than-American market. They'd have better jobs if they could get them, but America loves it some cheap labor.

Plain and simple you're an asshole if you make a good wage and pretend you don't make it off the backs of the less-than-American work force. You're just as bad as the trust-fundians who "earned" their money by not overspending their allowance and the Republicans who think we're too generous for offering the less-than-Americans who grow, pick, cook, process, and serve us our food cheaper health insurance.

Labor: you're either with us or against us.
Posted by six shooter on May 30, 2013 at 10:12 AM · Report this
45
@44

>Plain and simple you're an asshole if you make a good wage and pretend you don't make it off the backs of the less-than-American work force.

Uh... are we talking about migrant workers who work for farmers or the unappreciated geniuses who flip burgers at Wendy's? I don't give a fat fuck about "labor" in fast food. That entire industry could disappear and my life would be no different.
Posted by The CHZA on May 30, 2013 at 10:16 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 46
Um, there are maybe three people in the country who would care enough about the illegals to pay an extra 50 cents for a burger. All of you probably live in Seattle, where there aren't any illegals to begin with. (And don't fucking bullshit me, there aren't.)

Thank you for playing Slog.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on May 30, 2013 at 10:28 AM · Report this
dirac 47
@46 I'll invite you to the nearest Home Depot sometime where we can get a landscaper or construction worker on the cheap.

I love all the rotten scabs here! @41 is right.
Posted by dirac on May 30, 2013 at 10:53 AM · Report this
48
I'd hate to find a rotten scab in my taco, that's for sure. I address this fear by avoiding Mexican food, and third world recipes in general.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on May 30, 2013 at 11:15 AM · Report this
49
Pridge, I'd say that you've got a pretty mouth, son, but I'm not in a mood to boost your ego this morning.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on May 30, 2013 at 11:34 AM · Report this
50
"Ballard Taco Bell Worker Walks Out As Major National Fast Food Strike Hits Seattle!"

Film at 11 ...
Posted by Unbrainwashed on May 30, 2013 at 11:38 AM · Report this
dirac 51
Fuckwit BLAST!
Posted by dirac on May 30, 2013 at 11:43 AM · Report this
52
#51, what happened? Did the mayor fart in a Taco Bell?
Posted by Unbrainwashed on May 30, 2013 at 11:59 AM · Report this
53
I don't know about Taco Bell workers, but whatever Goldy's getting paid is too much to be butchering the English language with gems like this (emphasis mine):

"What we're getting right now isn't fare and not right," complains Durocher, who works an average of only 27 hours a week. "I would love to work more, but they keep us all just below full time so that we don't benefits."


Did you write this article on an iPhone?

Also, those Taco Bell employees should ask their minimum wage comrades in NY what they make per hour (it's $7.25, $5.50 for tipped employees).
Posted by madcap on May 30, 2013 at 12:16 PM · Report this
54
Just answering a few comments: for me it is a stepping stone to a better place. I'm trying to finish my degree at UW so I can be a teacher (not glamorous but always something I've wanted to do). It would be nice to e able to pay rent, feed myself, and save up something for school and I know a lot of others in my store would like the same. I'm sure we could all live without fast food. And no I don't believe in my job, I believe in the people who I work with, there's a difference. They are all good people with good intentions and I would rather work for this company then another if I'm going to be in the fast food industry. This industry really is a labor industry. No it doesn't take any sort of skill level and I could teach anyone to do it but we do work really hard and put it long hours. A lot of people I work with are actually trying to move on and make better lives for themselves and this is a good stepping stone. Just a few weeks ago I had a 65 year old man who was a Chemical Engineer for over 30 years apply because he literally can't find work anywhere else. Is that his fault that he's poor then and has to take a low paying job in the shitty fast food industry? And we didn't close early because 1 person walked out, we closed 1 hour early because there were 50 people surrounding us on the sidewalks chanting and harassing the people in the Drive-Thru so we couldn't hear anything and most people were leaving anyway. We just decided it would be better for the employees who stayed to close the store so they didn't have to try to work in such a stressful situation. And there are 2 Mexican people who work at my store and both have green cards and have lives in the US more than 10 years, just FYI. Lastly, I know e're part of the Pepsi Co corporation and not an independent business, that was my point. If corporate would not demand so much just to be a part of Taco Bell, we might be able to better provide for our employees if we were more independent.
More...
Posted by Ygriega on May 30, 2013 at 12:46 PM · Report this
55
@42 how do you know they are undocumented? Do you ask for papers when you order your greasewich? Or is it just that they have brown skin?
Posted by shabadoo on May 30, 2013 at 1:03 PM · Report this
56
Of the jobs lost in the ONGOING recession, only roughly 15 percent were service industry jobs. They now comprise 50 percent of the jobs created. YOU tell ME who's working them...
Posted by Theghostsof on May 31, 2013 at 1:37 AM · Report this
57
I want the wages to go up at Taco Bell. it´s a poor job and the people who work it will have more money and.or the business model will be difficult to maintain and Taco Bells will go away

I think people are inventing a false choice between improvement of working conditions in fast food and improvement of working conditions elsewhere. It seems that this sort of activity could only be helpful for organization in other sectors. Fast food is fairly characterized as ¨the bottom rung¨, I think, but the sad truth is that that bottom rung has a lot of feet on it, these days, and there are more missing rungs between them and management, all the time.
Posted by d supreme on May 31, 2013 at 2:37 AM · Report this
58
Anyone who's appalled by the callousness of the I've-got-mine-Jack-and-I-earned-it-and-I-deserve-it-so-fuck-them high-tech workers apparently out in force in this comments section, rest assured: they will develop an appreciation of labor market economics (and possibly even a small measure of humanity) when the new immigration bill's higher H1-B caps kick in and its "more stringent enforcement measures" are not stringently enforced in practice. I'm looking forward to a lot of them being forced to work 80-hour weeks with no overtime and then let go, because given what I've read here, that's what it will take.

The federal minimum wage is around a third lower in real terms than it was in the mid-60s. Washington's gross minimum wage, the highest state minimum wage in the country, is lower than France's net minimum wage -- and French fast-food workers, like all French workers, get comprehensive national health insurance, five weeks of paid vacation, paid sick leave, heavily subsidized daycare, and essentially tuition-free higher education for their kids. Oh, and they have termination for cause rather than termination at will, so they can actually assert their rights without being fired for it. This is what happens when labor unions fight to achieve better wages, benefits, and working conditions for all workers through national legislation and regulation rather than just for their own members through limited collective bargaining agreements that inevitably fall victim to intercompany and interstate races to the bottom.

Just ask yourself this: Does a business that ostensibly cannot train and equip its workers to produce enough value-added to support a reasonable living wage deserve to be in business? Should we be allowing businesses to pay their workers so little that we are required to provide those workers SNAP (food stamps) and Medicaid in order for them to survive? By doing that instead of requiring a living wage, are we providing emergency help to the workers or rather massively subsidizing a slave-wage system that allows shareholders and executives to take home ever-fatter dividends and paychecks? How is it that fast-food (and other relatively low-wage) companies can provide their workers a living wage in countries that require one, but not in the United States? What percentage of their revenues go to their shareholders and executives versus their workers in those countries, and how does that compare to the split here?

But I won't hold my breath. As I said, the kind of people I'm talking about won't ask these questions or find the right answers until the race to the bottom takes them down, personally.
More...
Posted by PCM on May 31, 2013 at 9:33 AM · Report this
59
Fast food restaurants are overall a terrible thing in our society. BUT, the people that work for them are largely hard-working individuals who are not adequately compensated for their labor. It is a myth that this work force is made up of teenagers; many immigrants, single parents etc work in fast food restaurants, and it is hard, dirty work. To say they're lazy is blatant classism, period. Understand that in all reality, the janitor who dumps the trash is just as essential and valuable to society as a talented programmer. The privilege in this thread is sickening, get the fuck over yourselves. Poor people in this country work harder than you do. Of course they deserve $15/hour.
Posted by muffin on May 31, 2013 at 10:51 AM · Report this
mtnlion 60
Man, what a bunch of elitist jerks. Working in fast food may not require special skills or education, but that does not mean it is easy work. These people are standing up for themselves and asking for something they believe is fair, and that's fucking sweet. Not everyone has the luxury of going to college, getting buried in debt, and getting a menial job which places them solidly in the middle class. And even if they do, they still have to live while they get there.

Don't be assholes to the working poor. You're treating them exactly like the mega-rich treats the middle class, which most of you likely disapprove of. Additionally, WTF are you doing that is so difficult and important that you're entitled to your wage?
Posted by mtnlion http://radicalish.wordpress.com on May 31, 2013 at 1:46 PM · Report this
61
Just let them get $15 an hour. It means that every person working there that really is lazy will lose their job so a more qualified or harder working person can take their spot. A side effect is that when I go to one of these places and pay a buck more for my combo, I know I'm going to get what I ordered, it's going to be hot, and the person who made it can afford to shower.

I can't wait until I don't have to wait for the girl behind the counter to finish her text message so I can get to my chicken sandwich, I'll be able to lean on the counter or rail without getting disguisting crap on my shirt, the bathrooms will be tolerable and the booths will be spotless. You'll soon forget about the days when you had to double check your order yourself, and even better, you'll forget about all the times you got back on the highway and realized that twit didn't put a straw in the bag.

I can't believe these people don't get paid more...

On a more depressing note, this will eliminate MILLIONS of jobs for handicapped/disabled people that simply cannot compete physically or mentally with the "Qualified" candidates that will no doubt be hired.

Posted by st1llet01 on August 1, 2013 at 1:45 PM · Report this
62
Meh.... These are jobs for kids in school that need a few extra bucks to buy Ramen and PBR, or a retired person who cannot live on Social Security alone. Yes, these assholes play the part time game so they don't pay benefits. So does Davids Bridal and countless other cheap bastard franchises out there. What a twisted view to think it's a career unless you're a store manager. Wake the fuck up America. The Union mafia are the only beneficiaries here.
Posted by Goatboyyyy on September 7, 2014 at 1:11 PM · Report this

Add a comment