Should Fast Food Workers Make $15 Per Hour?

Fast Food Strike

Matt Walsh at wants you to believe that being exploited early in life is an important life lesson. He wants you to believe that being forced to skip meals because you have little work experience makes you a better worker in the long run. Walsh states, “It’s fast food. It’s menial. It’s mindless. It’s not supposed to be a career. It’s not supposed to be a living. An entry-level position making roast beef sandwiches at Arby’s isn’t meant to be something you do for 26 years.” But my question for Walsh is why not? Why is it that some jobs are necessary jobs with high salaries and others are “starter jobs” that should force you to starve in order to earn the right to make a better living later?

The reason that fast food workers get so little money is not because some generous billionaire decided to help out these poor unfortunate entry level workers by allowing them the right to suffer in order to gain sorely needed life experiences. The corporate offices sell the franchise rights to individual store owners with promises of making their money back and then some by hiring under-experienced unskilled workers to do the work at the lowest legal rate. And like all good pyramid schemes the only real fortune to be made is at the uppermost levels. The workers make almost no money. The store owners are beholden to the franchise being forced to make exorbitant payments for the rights to use the franchises name and being forced to buy all their supplies through franchise regulated sources at franchise determined prices. The store owners are not even allowed to buy cheaper supplies if they can find them. The franchise owners are maximizing their profits by minimizing the store owner’s profits forcing the store owners to pay as little as possible to the workers if they ever want to make any return on their investments. So Walsh is right when he says that individual store owners “have a finite amount of money to spend on operating expenses.” But if fast food jobs did not generate a tidy profit the business model would not exist.

But according to Walsh, if the fast food workers do not like their compensation they can go find a better paying job. But although Walsh is wrong about fast food industry requiring no skill to work there, the skills that the workers do learn only qualify these workers to work at fast food establishments. So when these workers quit their jobs they learn the hard way that they do not qualify for any jobs that pay any better. So even though Walsh believes that these jobs are only meant to be starter jobs, many fast food workers mistakenly believe that they can work their way up the ladder to a better paying position in the industry that they have experience in. The problem with this model is that store managers usually make little more than the regular workers themselves. And while I do agree that $15 per hour is too high a starting wage for unexperienced fast food workers if they forced to try to make a living in a fast food there should at least be somewhere for their experience to lead them. But the problem does not end at getting better pay for fast food workers. The solution to the problem of people living in poverty starts with getting rid of the attitudes of overly entitled experienced workers like Walsh who believe that since they were exploited when they were first starting out in the workforce that everyone should be exploited. In reality, even Walsh knows that being exploited only serves to make you bitter and jaded exploitation does not make you a better happier worker.

Matt Walsh’s Article