Fast Food Minimum Wage (New York)

fast food

About a recent article in the NYT about older workers working in the fast food industry for sub-living wages, I think this is the important analysis. The fast-food industry says that what is going on here is a structural anomaly: that its wages were not intended to sustain a permanent work force — especially adults supporting families — and that it is happening because of larger economic forces. “The minimum wage was never meant to be a living wage,” said Steve Caldeira, the president of the International Franchise Association, a trade group for restaurants and other franchised firms. “It was meant, from the start, for entry-level workers and for those with lower skills.” In other words, the minimum wage is a non-living wage. The structural anomaly is the pressure on the older, middle class workers shoved out the workforce end up at jobs paying sub-living wages. What goes unsaid or undersaid is the way structural anomalies turn into new economic norms that impact upon workers’ lives and the social fabric of the cities in which we live. It’s hard to see how the things people value, things like truth, justice, friendship, and beauty, are supposed to survive in this environment apart from the efforts made by workers to unionize.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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3 Responses to Fast Food Minimum Wage (New York)

  1. dmfant says:

    was just listening to
    and when the corporate hack tried to make this entry job defense and was challenged on how better education and higher-paying jobs were not actually being assembled he just changed the subject and I changed the the station…

  2. David says:

    Thoser workers with “lower skills” how were they supposed to support themselves on a non-living wage historically? McD doesn’t mention that

  3. dmfant says:

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