Big Labor's Misguided Attempt to Double Wages at Fast-Food Chains


My latest piece at The Daily Beast takes aim at tomorrow's union-backed labor action at fast-food joints around the country.

Here's the start of it:

In what is probably the least inspired labor action since the great Detroit Symphony Orchestra Picket Line of 2011, groups such as the Service Employees International Union, Fast Food Forward, and Fight for 15 are calling for nation-wide wage strikestargeting McDonald's, Burger King, Arby's, and other latter-day Dickensian workhouses. On Thursday, protesters in over 100 cities will stand outside of fast-food joints and call for doubling the wages of burger flippers and fry-vat operators from $7.25 an hour (the current federal minimum) to at least $15.

Regardless of how much solidarity or sympathy you might feel about the people who assemble your Triple Steak Stack or your Cheesy Gordita Crunch, this sort of demand is economic fantasy at its most delusional and counterproductive. Doubling the wages of low-skilled workers during a period of prolonged joblessness is a surefire way not just to swell the ranks of the reserve army of the unemployed but to increase automation at your local Taco Bell….

Think about this way: Are you worth double your paycheck? And while I'm sure you are, what about the other slobs you work with? The wage strike - which follows up on earlier iterations held in August and last November - showcases just how devoid of vision organized labor is when it comes to the private sector. There's almost 4 million jobs open in trades such as construction, welding, carprentry, and the like - and there are employers ready and willing to train new workers for these positions. Groups such as the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), one of tomorrow's organizers, would do better by workers if they figured out a way to match unemployed and underemployed folks with jobs that pay well and offer chance for long-term growth.

Read the whole article.

Near the end of the piece, I cite Mike Rowe, the host of the cable show Dirty Jobs, whom we interviewed recently for Reason TV. Look for that Q&A to go live sometime next week at this here website.