Fast food workers in New York are about to get a big raise, but not everyone is happy for them.
Since the city announced its proposed plan to get fast-food workers to $15 an hour by 2018, many have disparaged the concept of "low-skill" workers make more or as much as them. Forbes published an op-ed denouncing the idea, titled "Yes, New York's $15 Fast Food Minimum Wage Will Be A Failure--Why Do You Ask?"
Meanwhile, 180,000 fast food workers who are currently paid the state-wide minimum wage of $8.75 an hour were expectedly pleased. As the hate rained in, a paramedic named Jens Rushing offered his own perspective on the issue.
"Fast food workers in NY just won a $15/hr wage.
I'm a paramedic. My job requires a broad set of skills: interpersonal, medical, and technical skills, as well as the crucial skill of performing under pressure. I often make decisions on my own, in seconds, under chaotic circumstances, that impact people's health and lives. I make $15/hr.
And these burger flippers think they deserve as much as me?
Good for them."
And he explained why.
"Look, if any job is going to take up someone's life, it deserves a living wage.
If a job exists and you have to hire someone to do it, they deserve a living wage. End of story. There's a lot of talk going around my workplace along the lines of, "These guys with no education and no skills think they deserve as much as us? Fuck those guys." And elsewhere on FB: "I'm a licensed electrician, I make $13/hr, fuck these burger flippers."
And that's exactly what the bosses want! They want us fighting over who has the bigger pile of crumbs so we don't realize they made off with almost the whole damn cake. Why are you angry about fast food workers making two bucks more an hour when your CEO makes four hundred TIMES what you do? It's in the bosses' interests to keep your anger directed downward, at the poor people who are just trying to get by, like you, rather than at the rich assholes who consume almost everything we produce and give next to nothing for it.
My company, as they're so fond of telling us in boosterist emails, cleared 1.3 billion dollars last year. They expect guys supporting families on 26-27k/year to applaud that. And that's to say nothing of the techs and janitors and cashiers and bed pushers who make even less than us, but are as absolutely crucial to making a hospital work as the fucking CEO or the neurosurgeons. Can they pay us more? Absolutely. But why would they? No one's making them.
The workers in NY *made* them. They fought for and won a living wage. So how incredibly petty and counterproductive is it to fuss that their pile of crumbs is bigger than ours?
Put that energy elsewhere. Organize. Fight. Win."