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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 7, 2013 at 4:44 PM

Fast-food workers demand higher wages

An unrealistic wish

A circle of protesters lock hands and sit on the road outside McDonalds as fast-food workers rally against "wage theft" by their employers in Seattle, on Thursday, August 1. [Marcus Yam, The Seattle Times.]

A circle of protesters lock hands and sit on the road outside McDonalds as fast-food workers rally against “wage theft” by their employers in Seattle, on Thursday, August 1. [Marcus Yam, The Seattle Times.]

To all those fast-food workers who are now demanding a $15-an-hour wage: as the old saying warns, be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it. [“Behind the fast-food protests,” Business, seattletimes.com.]

If you do get it, it’s almost certain that a lot of you will have no jobs at all. There is already proven technology that can replace most counter workers, who mainly take orders and relay them to the kitchen.

Fast food is one of the few remaining industries in which young people with little or no job experience or marketable skills can get a little knowledge of real-world working conditions. It’s doubtful that any owner/manager will be hiring many such applicants at $15 an hour.

This would also impact those who are working part-time to supplement the income of the primary household wage earner. It’s useful to keep in mind that the annual turnover rate in the industry is around 50 percent.

You might as well have set your sights on $50 or $100 an hour, as you’d be just as likely to get that. No employer with half a brain will pay an employee more than that employee can return to the business.

Lee Fowble, Edmonds

Comments | More in Economy, Seattle | Topics: fast food, living wage, Minimum Wage

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