The PJ Tatler

Fast-Food Strike: Dumb Strike, or the Dumbest Strike Ever? (Update: It's the Dumbest Strike Ever)

Unskilled entry-level workers demand double pay without offering more to their employers or customers.

NEW YORK — Beginning a day of protests that organizers say will spread to 50 cities and 1,000 stores across the country, a crowd of chanting workers gathered Thursday morning at a McDonald’s in midtown Manhattan to call for higher wages and the chance to join a union.

About 500 people, including workers, activists, religious leaders, news crews and local politicians, gathered outside the McDonald’s on Fifth Avenue. The protesters chanted “Si Se Puede” (“Yes, We Can”) and “Hey, hey, ho, ho $7.25 has got to go,” holding signs saying “On Strike: Can’t Survive on $7.25,” referring to the federal minimum wage.

The protesters plan to spread out to other stores throughout New York during the day. Protests are also expected in Los Angeles, Chicago, Charlotte, N.C., and other cities.

Fast-food customer service is hard work, but it’s entry level. I know, because I’ve done a version of it in my storied career. It’s a skill-developing stepping stone from which an ambitious person should seek a better gig. It’s not an end, it’s a means. If you’re in a job like that, you’re very replaceable and you always will be. Knowing that should motivate a good worker to seek a better job where they will earn more and be harder to replace, not try to squeeze too much out of an-entry level job.

Aside: When was the last time you went to a fast-food restaurant and actually experienced good, friendly service? In my experience, that happens at Chick-fil-A, Sonic, Subway, sometimes Wendy’s, and…really, nowhere else but local franchises. Customer service at national chains is nearly dead — usually surly, slow, and prone to mistakes. They want more money for that? Robots can and probably soon will do the job better. The strikers should think about that.

Obamacare has changed the job market negatively and to some extent trapped workers in part-time underemployment, which is a terrible shame. But the unions that these strikers want to join support Obamacare. Well, they support it until they have to live under it. Then they get exemptions to escape it.

The fast-food industry used to employ mostly younger people just trying to make some extra money as they went through school. Now, workers are older and depend on the work to feed families. Analysis by the Economic Policies Institute shows that the average age of minimum-wage workers is now 35, and that 88% are 20 and older.

That’s sickening. It’s Obama’s McJobs recovery in full flower. It’s a direct result of his anti-jobs policies. This isn’t the fast-food chains’ fault. It’s the fault of Democrats and Big Labor. These dopes are striking against the wrong people and deserve to be fired for stupidity.

Update: Well here’s a genius move. It’s not like Detroit needs jobs or anything. It’s not like unions haven’t already destroyed the city.

SOUTHFIELD (WWJ/AP) – A local McDonald’s restaurant was forced to close after its employees walked out and hundreds gathered outside to protest for higher wages.

Hundreds don’t work at a single McDonald’s. Who are these people — Big Labor goldbrickers or Anthony Weiner-style rent-a-mobs?

The restaurant on 8 Mile and Lahser roads along the Detroit/Southfield city line was just one location locally where fast food workers are participating in a nationwide “walkout for better wages.”

Over 200 protestors crowded the restaurant, carrying signs that read “We are worth more. Strike for 15,” as in $15 an hour.

Why $15? Why not $16, or $20?

More: Upon further review, this is the dumbest strike ever. Typically, workers strike against a specific company to obtain a condition or benefit. The strike puts that company under pressure by impacting its ability to do business. In this case, the strikers only represent a tiny fraction of fast food workers, so there is less pressure applied from the outset. They are striking not against a specific company, but against an entire industry. Thus, there is no one on the other side with whom they can negotiate anything. The target is too diffuse to feel much pressure from this tiny strike. Any fast food chain that does comply with the strike demands may get some good press for a few days, but will have put themselves at a strategic disadvantage relative to their competitors by paying the higher wages, and setting the precedent that they will bow to strike pressure. So fast food chains have built-in disincentives to do anything the strikers want.

Beyond that, most fast food chains do not own most local restaurants. They’re franchises; the chains can’t set wages in franchises even if they wanted to. All this strike is likely to do is speed up the rise of the machines in fast food.