Burger King employees had enough of poor working conditions and put up big sign: WE ALL QUIT.

Originally published at: Burger King employees had enough of poor working conditions and put up big sign: WE ALL QUIT. | Boing Boing


Some of the inevitable consequences of late stage capitalism…


those damn unemployment payments strike again




I know, right? Over the last holiday weekend, had to attend a family event and heard at least 4 different variations on “those people” who don’t want to go back to work because the “gubbamint pays them more to sit at home” but - SHOCKER - no one made the connection between a fully-staffed coffee shop that pays their employees but sells coffee for $3 versus the McD’s down the street staffed by 3 “lazy asses” who sling mud water for $1.

This, despite just as many local news stories about small business owners being inundated with applications after advertising they have a $15 starting wage, how they’ve overwhelmed with business, and how it’s not cut into their bottom line AT ALL because - ANOTHER SHOCKER - people like their jobs more when they’re being paid more, and customers like local businesses who take care of their employees.


I’ve noticed that some of the fast food places by my new place that the employees are always grumpy, despite that i still try really hard to be extra nice to them the brief moments that i interact with them. Still real grumpy, but i understand why that is… they’re not paid well and usually are treated with not a lot of respect. When compared to local food places i notice that the workers there are generally more upbeat and friendly and i’ve seen that they typically start between 12-15 bucks


I’m now fully expecting local Republican legislators to be furiously writing laws that would force the workers to return to those jobs whether they wanted to or not.

What amuses me is the conservatives who, for years, have been telling everyone that minimum wage doesn’t need to be a living wage because people in those jobs don’t actually need the money and/or will move onto better jobs. Those conservatives are now shocked - shocked! - that the workers have decided they don’t need the money/have moved on to better jobs. Those same conservatives also argued that over-inflated CEO pay was fair because “the market” had settled on those salaries to fill those positions. It’s almost like their arguments were always disingenuous and often racist…


Even assuming this talking point was true, the right-wing and Libertarian business geniuses who push it miss the point: any company that can’t outbid a modest* emergency government payment in the labour market has some serious issues with its management and owners.

(* relative to other Western countries)


Anytime someone brings up how unhappy low-wage workers seem, I just rephrase minimum wage as “The lowest amount a multi-billion-$-a-year-company is legally allowed to pay you, because the government says you’re not worth more.”

Or, you know, you can point out how ridiculous it is to be mad at a person who is underpaid by the richest people on the planet.


The last couple of decades have made me so cynical, that I now firmly expect FOX, et al, to frame the employees as trouble-making, un-American Socialists.


I wonder what Wendy’s Twitter has to say about this. . . . .

Maybe too close to home.


Pay a living wage, and your labor issues will go away. Simple.


And yet, the geniuses who run these late stage capitalist enterprises never see it coming.


Let’s assume a McDonald’s restaurant with 8 FTE workers working in overlapping shifts, at $7.50/hr. That’s 64 hours, or $480. Also, assume that restaurant sells 200 meals a day, at $10/meal on average. That’s $2000 revenue. That’s also $2.40/per meal in labor.

Doubling minimum wage would make labor $4.80/meal. Being a corporation with at least one intelligent accountant, that price would be rolled back into the price of the meal, raising it to $12.40/meal. Or, put in different terms: that increase represents 10 minutes of the $15/hr worker’s labor.

Resistance to raising minimum wage isn’t about cost or profits, as any business will roll these costs into the final price of goods and services. Its all about having a labor force so desperate for work they’ll endure all kinds of abuse and mistreatment from management. It’s very telling that conservatives’ plan for getting people back to work is not making it more attractive to seek employment (by raising minimum wage), but rather make them desperate to go back to work by taking away their benefits.



They always mis-represent business thinking to the general public, because they assume that employees are dumb or they would be a business owner…

For instance the folly “If you raise my taxes I will have to lay people off - you are killing jobs”. I don’t know any business owner that would come to that conclusion. Higher taxes will reduce their profit. If reducing staff to reduce man-power cost would yield a way to regain that profit, they would have already done it. It just does not work that way. The only way to recover that profit in the face of higher taxes is to turn more business, which means gaining more market share, and hiring more people. If they could magically get more production out of less people, then why oh why had our brilliant business owners not already done that. Cutting staff will not gain back that profit, because it will cut their production capacity, and reduce their gross income. If they are not in a market position to gain share, they are stuck. Do nothing, loose profit. Lay people off, loose more profit. Thats why they fight it and lie about it.


My wife started at BK when she was 17 back around 1980 for close to 19 years. She worked her way up in a small 3 store franchise to end up running all 3 stores and then one day the owner, her boss for most of those years, came in and said “oh, by the way, I sold the stores the new owners will be her tomorrow.” The new owners were the largest franchisee in the country at the time. She stuck it out and became their district manager. She also lost 3 weeks vacation pay. He was an ass and the new people were also evil.

Her salary was good for 50 hours, not so much for 70+. The big problem was, she had an excellent reputation in the BK world but the franchisee contract with the corporation said another franchise could not hire employees from other franchises unless the franchise released her. She had no contract with anyone. In other words she was party to a contract that she was not involved with.

We asked my attorney if that was legal, turns out it was not but guess what? He advised us it was a losing battle.

The working conditions were awful, they would make employees punch out and sit in the dining room when things got slow. Schedules were posted the day before your shift and no one had a set schedule. People would literally come to work sick, throw up in the garbage can and continue working because at the time there were no other jobs. I have tons of stories.

It took a toll on our marriage and we finally decided my tiny little business was going to support us. It worked out for us but just barely.

Go to school and better yourself they say, yeah, that’s virtually impossible when you can’t get a set schedule.

If I hear “I did it so can anybody” one more time I’m going to snap.

I am so happy this is finally coming to a head and there might be some real change with better wages and working conditions. I’m hopeful but not confident.


Lately when I hear “businesses can’t find employees” I tell them they forgot to finish their sentence.

“Businesses can’t find employees for what they are willing to pay.” For the most part that ends the conversation.


I worked for about 3 years at Kohls as a customer service rep and i felt trapped by that job. I busted my ass and never got recognition, what i earned did not cover my living expenses and what made me push to change my circumstances was to quit and move to a new city. It forced me to desperately try to find something better for myself and it worked. I can’t say i recommend anyone do the same but honestly we’re more valuable than these businesses want to make us believe, regardless of one’s level of experience and education might be. Believe in your self worth and try hard to change your circumstance, if there aren’t opportunities where you are then look elsewhere like i did (not directed at you, just a general statement).

My gf has been struggling since December to find a job, thankfully the stimulus and unemployment has kept her afloat but we’re both in agreement that she needs to maintain a standard for herself and not take a job that will demean the progress she’s made in bettering herself. She interviewed today for a job that might pay her as much as i’m making now which will be a life changer for her and if she gets it i’ll be immensely proud of her… though really i’m already proud of her.