Monday, April 6, 2015

Workers and their many minimums

The Service Employees International Union has put together a highly vocal and well planned campaign to raise wages at fast food restaurants to $15 an hour. The "Fight for Fifteen" campaign is getting the publicity its supporters had hoped for, and some fast food restaurants and Walmart have announced increases in their starting wages, although not up to $15 an hour.

Whenever I see articles about this campaign, I recall the poster I saw in the boss' office at a locally owned, non-franchise restaurant. I read the poster from outside the owner's office door while waiting for him to complete a phone call. The sign said something like this:

"You have minimum education, minimum skills, minimum motivation, minimum dedication, minimum effort, minimum experience and minimum performance. What makes you think you should get anything other than minimum wage?"

I'm a bit surprised that this argument against higher wages for the lowest-skill workers hasn't been more widely used.

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