If you are one of the millions of Americans who eat at fast food restaurants, you may want to prepare to cook your own food. At least for a little while. According to a New York Times report, fast food employees will be striking in up to 100 cities over the next week. The strikes come about after a longstanding battle between the companies who bring us the Big Mac, the Whopper, and the Crunchwrap Supreme, and the workers who assemble those items on a daily basis. Wage strikes have been organized to bring attention to the salary demands of $15 per hour. While the movement has gained steam behind unionization groups such as Fast Food Forward and Fight For 15, the strikes won’t come without criticism.
Officials with the National Restaurant Association have warned that increasing pay to $15 an hour when the federal minimum wage is $7.25 would cause restaurants to rely more on automation and hire fewer workers. While others in the industry say that only a small percentage of fast-food jobs pay the minimum wage and that those are largely entry-level jobs for workers under 25.
Outsiders are bound to say that fast food employees do not deserve a salary north of $30,000 per year for a job which in most cases does not even require a high school diploma. But arguing with that figure given the amount of money their labor affords companies like McDonald’s is a tough task to take on. However, in 2012, McDonald’s reported revenue of over $27.5 billion, and employed over 1.9 million workers. If those 1.9 million all received $15 per hour, the company would owe employees around $57 billion assuming a 40 hour work week.
Whatever the arguments are, if entry level employees at fast food chains are being paid $15 an hour you can expect many more culinary school graduates looking to pay off their student loans while flipping burgers and dropping fries. Be sure to pack your lunch this week.