News & Politics

Get Woke, Get Fired

Get Woke, Get Fired
McDonald's workers and their supporters join "Fight for $15" protesters calling for a union and pay of $15 an hour on the campus of Loyola University in Chicago, Thursday, April 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford)

The “fight for 15” — a minimum wage of $15 an hour — has been a rallying cry on the left for a while now, and they’ve succeeded in implementing it in various blue states. And look what’s — so utterly predictably — happening:

Its workers were the first to stage rallies demanding a minimum wage of $15 an hour. Then, they pressed for changes in the way national restaurant chains set their work schedules.

Now, they are asking the City Council to shield them from being fired without a valid reason. That protection, the sort of job security that unions usually bargain for, would be a first for a city to provide to workers in a specific industry, labor law experts said.

City Councilman Brad Lander said he planned to introduce a bill on Wednesday that would require fast-food businesses to show “just cause” for firing workers and give them a chance to appeal dismissals through arbitration.

To the New York Times, every business issue looks like a job for lawyers, government intervention, or both. Every economist this side of Paul Krugman warned that every dollar above the real minimum wage (which is $0.00/hour) would have to come from a combination of price rises, quality reduction, or staffing reductions. And now that kiosks, which actually will work for $0.00 an hour), are here, McDonald’s and other fast-food chains need fewer economically overpriced laborers, especially ones who don’t show up for work and fret that fast-food jobs aren’t, you know, careers.

The Times is trying to frame this story as Mean Old Management vs. Underpaid Non-Union Minority Workers:

Mr. Lander, a Democrat from Brooklyn, said he was responding to surveys of fast-food workers indicating that “there’s a substantial percentage of employees that have been fired unfairly.” One woman said she was fired from a Chipotle restaurant for not smiling enough.

Because surly, lackadaisical service is just what customers love!

But restaurant industry officials and lawyers who represent the industry said the proposal was just the latest stratagem employed by a national union that has been trying to organize fast-food workers ever since they first staged protests for better wages and working conditions in 2012.

The Service Employees International Union adopted the workers’ Fight for 15 campaign, which spurred New York and other cities and states to raise minimum wages to $15 an hour and in some places higher.

“We’re always skeptical about any efforts by the S.E.I.U., that they’re really anything more than a front to help them increase their dues-paying membership and their political agenda,” said Matthew Haller, an executive with the International Franchise Association in Washington.

Read the rest of this story, if you can. It’s a blend of economic self-interest, labor union tub-thumping, social justice crusading, and a good old sob story about workers who got fired for missing a shift, and other such trivial matters. Wait til the downsizing at the burger counter really gets underway in earnest. Then you’ll really see some wailing, although not from the kiosks — and not from the customers, either.