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Is $15 an Hour Too Much for Fast Food Workers? Some People Think it Is

Angry McDonald’s workers stormed the campus of Hamburger University in Illinois yesterday to demand $15 an hour wages.

The move, the workers and supporters said, is a much needed boost to help raise the hard-working crew members out of poverty.

One protester pointed out that he current wage -she earns $7.50 an hour – leaves her so poor she must rely on food stamps to feed her family, while another said that they have tried to talk to McDonald’s higher-ups before, but no one is listening to their plights.

An organizer of the worker protest, Kendall Fells, added that it is simply not right the corporate bigwigs rake in the cash while their front line workers can’t even afford to take care of themselves or their kids.

“McDonald’s is the leader in the industry; it’s the fastest growing industry in the country,” Fells said. “And these workers are here to look shareholders in the face and say, ‘We do work for you, we are growing and we’re not going to live in poverty while you sit here and take home billions of dollars in profit.'”

Yet, while the McDonald’s crew members had the backing of clergy, unions and the NAACP, not everyone thinks raising the McDonald’s wages to $15 makes a lot of sense.

A CNN poll showed that a slim majority of Americans do not support a $15 minimum wage (although certainly McDonald’s could raise wages without federal legislation).

Tea Party favorite Herman Cain went as far as to say that forcing businesses like McDonald’s to pay $15 an hour would be a job-killer and a bad investment for corporations overall.

“Every business is looking to minimize its costs and maximize its revenue. But you know you can’t make your costs zero, especially when it comes to labor. So what you want to do is make the right level of investment in your workers, What is the right level of investment? It’s the level that yields you the best return in the form of value workers give you through quality performance and productivity,” he explained.

He continued by saying paying entry-level employees $15 an hour means companies lose out.

“The problem with a $15-per-hour minimum wage is that there are simply too many workers who can’t produce enough to generate the return you need to justify that investment,” Cain stressed.

A spokesperson from McDonald’s has also made it clear that the company does not plan to voluntarily raise wages unless the law on minimum wage changes nationwide.

“When it comes to the minimum wage, that’s a national discussion,” Heidi Barker explained in response to the workers’ demands.  “It’s not a McDonald’s issue, It’s an economic issue. We’ll look to the folks in Washington to determine what happens.”

Photo Credit:WLS-TV

About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.