Fast-food employees are demanding $15 an hour, a move supported by the Service Employees International Union. I have no problem with people joining unions and demanding fair wages and safe conditions. But there are a few points to keep in mind.
First, employment is not indentured servitude; everyone has a right to quit and find another job. Second, fast-food jobs, like cutting the lawn and delivering newspapers, used to be for school-aged workers, not for people raising families.
If we have come to the point where people make a career as a fast-food worker, then we have lost far too many middle-class jobs, our education system is not providing the right skills or we have too many government entitlements. These jobs pay minimum wages because they require minimal skills.
Third, when someone can earn more on welfare than at a fast-food job, why work? Finally, when we think of labor unions, we should think of Detroit, where America used to build most of the world’s cars and trucks. But as labor unions demanded $50 to $60 per hour for autoworkers, the companies found it cheaper to move overseas. Same with the garment industry and steel manufacturing.
Granted, the fast-food industry isn’t closing shop, yet. They can always fire their current employees and find a new crop of high school students or immigrants happy to work for minimum wage.