(Hat tip to Perry for reminding me of this.)
But, per the header of this piece? That said, in details of the strike, I think $15/hr, without a phase-in of seven or so years, is too high. Even then, it might be a bit much. The $10.10 of Beltway rounds, with a four-year phase-in, AND a COLA clause as part of that, sounds about right to me.
And, that's in part due to strategy reasons — reasons of what's realistic — as well as other considerations. And, I'm not alone:
Gary Chaison, a professor of industrial relations at Clark University, said Thursday’s protests were an example of “the labor movement reinventing itself. It’s the most experimental thing labor has done in a long time.”But he characterized the goal of a $15 hourly minimum as overly ambitious.“They seem to forget you have to take little steps at a time,” he said. “When you don’t have very much, getting a little can mean a lot. You can’t get it all at once.”
Yes, I know big businesses often use threats of closure or cuts as their own negotiating tools. And, I know that McDonald's jobs can't be outsourced to China.
And, if wages get to honestly be too big a portion, businesses will do more than just threats. Besides closures, or cuts, you could have cuts combined with split shifts. Every day of your work week. Or, even more of last-minute call-ins, or last-minute stay-homes, on your work schedule.
And, that's not just at the local level. The movement behind this all, Fast Food Forward is reportedly backed financially by Service Employees International Union.
And, given that these protests are being backed or organized to some fair degree by organized labor folks well above the level of individual fast-food workers, that too is sad. Even in the glory days of Eisenhower, when adjusted into real dollars, the minimum wage was never but a sliver above $10 an hour.
Sadly, per Matthews, Felix Salmon is dumb enough to tout the $15 minimum, too. He says it would help the feds by bringing in tax revenue and moving people off the Earned Income Tax Credit. He should know better. He should know that with as high of a hike as I propose, even in northeastern metropolitan areas, some of this will happen.
Of course, about nobody I link above has ever lived in small-town Midwest or South areas.
SEIU? The same for the bulk of the types of workers you represent. Don't overshoot; you won't get sympathy for the broader issues behind this, including ever-increasing judicial hostility. Beyond that, that hostility is backed by Rick Snyder's election as governor of Michigan, Scott Walker's election as governor of Michigan, and more. A lot of Americans think that "union" is a four-letter word.
That said, I know that not a lot of workers are working 40 hours a week on minimum wage and that American unions like to use the minimum wage to bolster employees on the first tier above that. That then said, that's why a $15/hr request is really bad. SEIU? Nobody's going to want to pay janitors and security guards $17/hr in Grand Island, Neb. Simply ain't happening. They'll put up with dirty banks and fewer security guards.
Tocqueville missed noting that America is a land of confrontations, as part of American democracy. Too bad he wasn't here in the 1880s.
Speaking of him, this is part of why the US can't be fully like Western Europe. Lower population density, and more diversity within the various states. Well, maybe Western Europe will learn its lesson that a "Western Europe" that includes places like Greece under the euro umbrella can't be fully like Western Europe, either.
Finally, it's also why I identify myself on this blog as a skeptical left-liberal. I attempt to subject left-liberal ideas to some form of logical and empirical analysis before discussing them.
Update, May 18: Another way to put this, per the comment of Simon, who's non-American, is that the minimum wage, with that much of hike, has a broad parallel to the European Union's Eurozone crisis, to more clearly spell out what I first said. The rural South and Midwest are Greece, and New York City is London. Raise the minimum to $15/hr, and fair chunks of the US become post-eurozone crisis Greece.
And, per Simon's one comment, I noted that at $7.25, wages are a relatively modest part of fast-food overhead; I specifically indicated that likely would not be the same at $15. (Also, per that link to the Washington Post blog about the Center for American Progress, Australia's $16+ minimum wage would only be about $12 at most, here, at least under CAP's sensical idea. Also, Australia's minimum wage has a variety of loopholes, per that same link.
So, with that, and the added links above, can we please stop believing that a $15 minimum would be a painless panacea? I've already knocked down attempts to link it and helping the homeless.