Labor Storms the Golden Arches

Fast Food StrikeUrged on by a failing left-wing president, labor unions are laying siege to America’s fast food restaurants in a desperate bid to stay relevant in the twenty-first century.

They say they want to double the national minimum wage, raising it to $15 an hour, in the misguided pursuit of improving the lot of low-wage employees. As the Washington Free Beacon notes, President Obama called for a $9 an hour national minimum wage in his State of the Union address earlier this year and Democratic lawmakers in the Senate responded by proposing to raise the rate to $10.10.

In embracing the anti-fast food campaign, Obama is engaging in the politics of distraction, misdirecting public attention, trying to change the national political conversation, moving it away from the stagnant economy, the failing Obamacare program, the political scandals that are becoming too numerous to count, and the other grave problems in American society that he has either exacerbated or caused outright.

The Saul Alinsky devotee who lied and cheated his way into the Oval Office is paying back the empurpled thugs of the Service Employees International Union whose crimson-clad members did so much to get him elected in 2008.

Arguments for doubling the minimum wage are utter nonsense, argues libertarian commentator Nick Gillespie: “Even economists who question whether hiking the minimum wage causes significant unemployment for low-skilled workers tend to agree that doubling wages will reduce jobs.”

These protests are about boosting the labor movement’s sagging fortunes and helping President Obama and have little to do with actually helping workers given that boosting the hourly rate will discourage hiring, especially the hiring of less skilled workers.

Far-left groups such as Fast Food Forward, Fight for 15, and the in-your-face ACORN-like Restaurant Opportunities Center, that are backed by MoveOn and big labor outfits like the Service Employees International Union and the United Food and Commercial Workers, are behind the effort endorsed by President Obama.

As usual, these professional socialist agitators have been using paid rent-a-mobs to conduct actions against restaurant chains such as McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut, and Subway. A similar campaign was waged against Walmart stores across the country on Black Friday last week.

Fast food outlets and Walmart stores have long been targeted by the Left. In the 1980s, ACORN, which was founded in Walmart’s home state of Arkansas, created the United Labor Unions, which it used to organize low-wage, fast-food, and home healthcare workers. Ties to the labor movement gave ACORN a steady source of funding and members and allowed it to leverage its power. Today ULU is participating in the corrupt, fraud-prone enrollment of individuals in Obamacare exchanges.

Critics observe that doubling the minimum wage would kill jobs and hurt minorities. As economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, minimum wage laws themselves have an inglorious history, having been used to price minorities out of labor markets.

According to an Employment Policies Institute report, raising the minimum wage to $15 would eliminate more than 450,000 jobs, devastating about 20 percent of America’s 2.5 million fast food workers.

“This is a conservative estimate because it only includes employment loss among those who hold a fast food job as their primary employment,” the report says. “Including those who work in the industry as a second job would increase the estimates.”

EPI estimates that employment drops 3 percent for every 10 percent increase in labor costs. Doubling wages would encourage restaurants to “replace jobs with less costly, automated alternatives—including self-service ordering kiosks and even automatic burger makers.”

“These fast food protestors can either have a $15 minimum wage, or they can have the same number of jobs in the restaurant industry,” said EPI spokesman Michael Saltsman. “But they can’t have both.”

Increasing the minimum wage would benefit wealthier, white teens at the expense of minority teens, according to another study by American Action Forum.

“Instead of combating income inequality, an increase in the minimum wage may actually enlarge the income gap by limiting earnings from those who need them most (the jobless) and directing them to those who need it least, the top 20% of earners.”

Those living below the poverty line are more likely to be unemployed, as opposed to earning a minimum wage, so they probably wouldn’t benefit from hiking the wage rate, Doug Holtz-Eakin, head of American Action Forum and a former Congressional Budget Office director.

“Minimum wage jobs are meant to be stepping stones, in which workers find internal promotions,” Holtz-Eakin said. “The key to not being poor is work. You have to have a robustly growing economy with job opportunities and we haven’t had that over the past five years.”

“If you raise the minimum wage and stop someone from getting hired, you’re transferring wages from the unemployed to someone already working,” he said.

President Obama is doing what he can to aid the Big Mac attackers.

In a tedious class-warfare speech on economic inequality calculated to shore up sagging support among his extremist political base, our economically illiterate president struck a Chicken Little pose, warning about the so-called problem of economic inequality.

Earlier this week Obama, an unctuous friend of crony-capitalist Wall Street, referred to “a dangerous and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility that has jeopardized middle-class America’s basic bargain.” This inequality poses a “fundamental threat” to “our way of life,” the president pontificated.

Obama also, bizarrely, attributed America’s spectacular economic growth after World War Two to coercive government redistribution, an entirely ridiculous notion.

Americans “forged a New Deal, declared a War on Poverty in a great society,” he said.

“We built a ladder of opportunity to climb, and stretched out a safety net beneath so that if we fell, it wouldn’t be too far, and we could bounce back. And as a result, America built the largest middle class the world has ever known. And for the three decades after World War II, it was the engine of our prosperity.” [emphasis added]

Even though under 3 percent of all workers in the nation (and an even lower percentage of full-time workers) earn the minimum wage, Obama pontificated on this matter that is of continuing, obsessive interest only to the far Left.

“A broad majority of Americans agree we should raise the minimum wage. That’s why, last month, voters in New Jersey decided to become the 20th state to raise theirs even higher. That’s why, yesterday, the D.C. Council voted to do it, too. I agree with those voters. I agree with those voters, and I’m going to keep pushing until we get a higher minimum wage for hard-working Americans across the entire country. It will be good for our economy. It will be good for our families.”

In a way one has to admire the tenacity of the Left which always keeps its eyes on the ball.

Hiking the minimum wage eliminates jobs from the workforce, forcing people onto welfare, and helping unions by restricting competition among those offering their labor. People who are dependent on the government tend to support Democrats.

Raising the hourly minimum wage, whether to $9, $10.10, or $15, isn’t really about helping people.

It’s about recruiting voters.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

  • Matthew Vadum


  • Chris Shugart

    Only on the Left would “I need more money” be a compelling argument for a pay raise. No professional person who works in the real world could make that kind of case for a salary increase. Liberal ignorance can really be appalling.

  • herb benty

    Burger joints are a “starter-job” outlet, that often employ the otherwise unemployable. Obama should stop with the, “chip away at capitalism” direction he has determined to go. The higher minimum wage proponents are simply vote getters for progressives.

  • John Torkildsen

    Still will not this impact the main consumers of fast food?
    The very people who work there & their Kin?
    I think I have Empurgled to many Martinis.

    • John Torkildsen

      Sorry you meant ‘empurpled’
      Past tense/part participle.
      “His cheeks became empurpled”
      Just like mine.

      • Biff Henderson

        empurpled. That’s one gem of a descriptive. Love it.

  • John Torkildsen

    Hell sorry you meant empurpled-“his face empurpled with fury”
    Past tense/past particple.

  • A Z

    Get a job that is really necessary and that pays well. If worse comes to worse you might have become an apparatchik.

    DIY. Do not go to fast food. Buy some angus burgers and cook them. It is way ahead of eating pink slime (ammoniated boneless lean beef trimmings) served by disgruntled leftists.

  • A Z

    Raising the minimum wage is like a dog chasing its’ tail.

    As soon as the minimum wage goes up, union wages go up for many unions as their wages are contractually a multiple of the minimum wage.

    All it does is set up a wage spiral.

    Wages for different jobs have relative worth compared to one another.

    If a job cannot support a worker that job needs to be a part time job, automated or eliminated.

    Now which one of these scenarios are the union workers are telling us we should do with their jobs?

  • Sussex Girl

    European countries have minimum wages decently above ours. My aunt, who lives in Switzerland, called my mom last week bragging that she had bought chicken on sale for the equivalent of $6 US per pound. Normally in Switzerland, chicken sells for $9 US per pound. Let’s see . . . higher minimum wage, higher prices at the store. Any questions?

    • Well Done

      America did not become a world power by doing things the European way, in fact, America pulled Europe’s fat out of the fire more than once, something the Euroloons have never forgiven you for. Similarly, America did not become a world power by having rude, arrogant, non-American hard leftist in the White House.

  • The March Hare

    The ordering and serving part already has been automated since the 90s. The Sheetz family of Pennsylvania has had their chain of gas stations equipped with “MTO” (made to order) fast food service which uses a self ordering touch screen computer where you build your sandwich and enter the order. It then assigns a number and prints a ticket with the number which identifies it when it comes out of the kitchen and you pick it up and take it over to the cashier along with any other items you pickup from their shelves while waiting. The cashier takes your ticket, enters the number into the computer and the price is rung up. Only sandwich makers (production line) and one cashier needed. Works great.

  • American1969

    Clearly, Obama and his minions do not have a basic understanding of how economics works in the real world. What do you expect from someone who never even ran a lemonade stand?

    • Robert Lande

      He couldn’t run a lemonade stand.

      • Well Done

        WAY too many people who can’t run a business are in a position to create and enforce regulations that affect business.

    • BS77

      Yeah SEIU, serve me up some of that plastic goo you call fast food cheese…..yup….really nutritious and healthy for me….let’s see, lemme give you a raise too….say $15 an hour? Great….now how much for that grease burger??? Eleven dollars!!!!!! Oh, I get it. Raise your salary and the prices go up. DUH!!!!

  • Dallas25305

    The big union boss thugs only care about getting their hands on more dues money. Other than that they don’t give a damn. Take note of all the companies who have closed down because of the Big Boss Hog’s of the Union movement. These bullies don’t seem to be losing any sleep over it do they??