So what should I be paid?

Such was my question when I read this:

Dionne: Americans receiving minimum wage aren’t loving it

Thursday’s one-day strike of fast-food workers in dozens of cities is one of the new forms of labor creativity aimed at doing something about this. The folks who serve your burgers are demanding that instead of an average fast-food wage of $8.94 an hour, they ought to be paid $15.

Now, I don’t really make that much. I will say that I do make more than $8.94. But my job does require some problem-solving and analytical skills and more than the average amount of technical ability. And while my job can be outsourced, I cannot be easily replaced with a machine the way your typical fast-food worker can. (There are also the fast-food establishments, Jack in the Box being one, who have already put in an ATM-type machine where you can put in your order, pay for it, give your receipt to the human behind the counter and off they go to the kitchen.)

So, again, if your typical fast-food worker should make $15 an hour, then how much should someone like me make for what I do?

Or, more generally, if such low-skilled workers should be paid such a wage, what should jobs pay that require actual skills and ability — skills you have to learn through experience, training, and perhaps paid education? And if they should be paid commensurately more — which they damned well should — then aren’t we right back where we started from? To hear some of these people talk, you’d get the idea they think we should be paying fast-food workers a computer engineer’s salary. Of course, I’m sure there are those who would say, “If you’re replacing certain workers with machines, that will free up money to pay your remaining workers.”

Ignoring the maintenance costs of the machines, that might be true — but even so, that in itself is an implicit acknowledgement of the truth of a government-mandated wage increase. And people are already talking about a 30-hour work week being the new norm, with the Associated Press reporting that 77 percent of American jobs created in 2013 were part-time, 35 hours a week or fewer. So all these people agitating for this are going to have to ask themselves, sooner or later: What’s better? 30 or 40 hours at $8.94 an hour, or most likely 15 hours or fewer — perhaps even ZERO hours — at $15 per hour?


4 Responses to “So what should I be paid?”

  1. kadja1 Says:

    This is already happening. Wal Mart has been calling 28 hours a week full time for years, when we know it isn’t. As for the fast food workers, it is hard for me to empathize. I worked 2-3 jobs and went to school at night to better my position. If they are not willing to do that to make ends meet, why should I have any empathy? I was a single mom raising 3 boys so I hardly have empathy for those who say “I can’t afford a baby-sitter or day care.” I managed it==barely but I did. Also a lot of colleges and trade schools now have day care for their students at reduced rates. I’ve even worked at manual labor until my fingers bled on my days off to feed my kids. People will do whatever they can to survive–usually. These businesses can’t even keep people in West Texas. There is price-gouging going on in the rental properties and the hotels. Someone working for $8.94 an your might be able to pitch a tent in Wal-Mart’s parking lot. It IS that bad here. Put in rent controls and people won’t complain as much out here. IT IS pretty bad when people come from CA for the oil field work and then go back because according to them, their rent is a lot cheaper! That’s a first!

  2. kadja1 Says:

    Sorry–that should read $8.94 an hour…

  3. JD(not the one with the picture) Says:

    I’ve got the solution, instead of rent control, just raise the minimum wage to 100 million dollars an hour. Then everyone could work for an hour and retire to Florida or the Cote d’Azur, and you could afford the rents in west Texas . . .until the “price gougers” started charging $20 million for a burger since they have to pay their workers $100 million an hour.

  4. mick Says:

    I don’t understand why there is a national minimum wage when cost of living varies so much by region. Seems like the national minimum should be very low, with incentives for states to raise it higher.

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