This letter is in response to the articles covering the "Fast Food Forward" campaign that is seeking to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour at restaurants such as McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's.
When I worked at McDonald's in the early 1980s, most of my coworkers were my age. The commonly accepted idea was that this was a temporary steppingstone to better career opportunities once you graduated from college.
Today, we recognize the dramatic demographic changes that have occurred in the fast-food industry over the last 30 years, with most positions being filled by adults rather than teenagers. The industry has transformed from being a "temporary steppingstone" to a fulltime career opportunity that still pays very little relative to the profits posted by McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's (now comically referred to as the new "Big Three").
Employees of these companies still qualify for public assistance because of the low pay and lack of medical benefits. We also read daily of the failure to have taught people to read and write upon graduating college, not to mention high school.
If this whole situation doesn't smack of a deliberate and carefully planned booby-trap, then I don't know what does. Therefore, I am in favor of increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour at these fast-food restaurants and well as the provision of medical benefits. There is no evidence that doing so will cripple these major chains at all. It may reduce the amount of money flowing to the top of these companies, but it is doubtful that it would alter their lifestyles.
There are those who will argue that the price of the food served will increase and result in less business and less employment. But this is the accepted thinking of an outdated paradigm. Even Henry Ford was wise enough to pay his workers more so they could afford to buy his cars (although in this case, a diet consisting primarily of fast food has been proven to be unhealthy). The major chains can "afford" to increase the pay of its employees without having to increase the price of its food.