Think Fast Food Workers Can't Be Paid Better?

Who says it's impossible to pay fast food workers a decent wage? Come October 1, Dearborn Heights' Moo Cluck Moo, a burger joint, will boost pay by 25 percent, to $15 an hour.

When was the last time you got a 25 percent raise?

That's $31,200 a year if the culinarians work full-time. Besides being the decent thing to do, says co-owner Brian Parker, management will save on retraining costs, as turnover goes way down. He harks back to Henry Ford's $5 a day wage, considered outlandish at the time for factory rats: pay the workers enough to buy what they build.

And maybe some folks will be tempted to eat at Moo Cluck Moo just to support the move (it wouldn't be charity, the food is excellent, from the buttermilk-dipped fried chicken to the portobellos to the fries with sea salt).

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about the “D-15” movement that had fast food workers striking August 26, not just in Detroit but all across the country. Fifteen an hour is the national demand, which Parker and co-owner Harry Moorhouse have just proved is not cloud-cuckoo-land.

Almost no fast fooders will be able to count on a benevolent management to raise their pay, of course. It'll take a heap more agitation before they're able to buck the $7.40 that's normal here.

At least fast food workers get a regular hourly pay, since they’re not tipped. The Michigan minimum for a tipped worker is $2.65 an hour, with you, dear reader, tasked with making up the difference. 

Jane Slaughter

Jane Slaughter is a former editor of Labor Notes and co-author of Secrets of a Successful Organizer. Her writing has also appeared in The Nation, The Progressive, Monthly Review, and In These Times.
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