The Battle for $15

It’s an back and forth problem where millions of Americans are stranded whether they must pay the rent or food. Whether they have to skip the childcare services and opt for a relative or a stranger to take care of their kids to go to their jobs or have to call off and lose their wages. It seems that most people, the most “privileged” individuals doesn’t understand the meaning of recession where from manufacturing to tech companies that have been helping communities for years decided to cut liabilities, by moving overseas, there’s not a lot of options for even a college degree graduate. So what are their options? Working at a fast food restaurant or a job that has nothing to do with what they studied and add another job to try to complement their income is downright insane compared to 40 or 50 years ago where having a degree meant so much well-off financially as well as building for their family and future generations. But in this millenium, the chances of being well-off financially is rather non-existant and fast food restaurants and other non-skill work has becoming the norm.

Last year, protesters in New York and California demanded an increase from their minimum wage pay to 15 dollars an hour. But the cost of living in NY and California are much higher than other states. It shows hundred of stories from the newspapers to social media, single mothers trying to ends meet, to seniors who worked mostly 10 or 20 years without even a promotion to complement their Social Security. It drew a mixed criticism over who deserves it and mostly the public stands with judgement with the words “Lazy” “Welfare Bums” “Burger Flippers”, “High School Dropouts”, and added comments like:

“Learn a trade, go to a trade school”
“Go to community college”
“Go and study this and that.”

If only these steps were easy. The truth is that getting into a trade school isn’t a walk in the park, neither is going to college where earning a degree doesn’t give you the security to find the job you graduated with. Even with grants and scholarships, you still have to get books and materials to pay out of pocket where every book is updated and it’s more expensive to buy. Not forgetting applying for student loans scams where it’s the norm for graduated students being “marked” into repaying it or say goodbye to their good credit rating. Don’t forget their outdated courses that can land students in low-skill jobs because the demand is dwindled. Colleges, Universities and Trade Schools are converting themselves into rip-off scams designed to trick students.

“The moment you get your 15, you’re gonna be replaced by robots.”
“Say goodbye to your jobs, losers!”

Most employers specially in the fast-food industry are considering and revamping their workforce and replacing it with kiosks and machines that can make food more efficiently in less time. Carl’s Jr CEO adopted aggressively this idea if states allow the minimum wage raised to 15, because they don’t want to pay their employees more that it should be. But the reality is bleak for employers to consider this idea. In China, robots are being replaced because of malfunctioning issues. Don’t forget software glitches and also getting the parts to fix these “robots” can be costly. So if employers think that automated crew will drive their profits higher, it could be the same if not, higher on losses because one of the most important aspects of customer relations is interaction from people, not machines.

“They’re lazy, with no motivation.”
“These jobs aren’t for families, that’s for teenagers!”
“Get a Real Job!”

This is one of the reasons why Americans are so judgemental without knowing why these people went through. In the beginning, these non-skill jobs were meant for entry-level workers, mainly teenagers who want to learn the skills necessary to built into their job experience. But as on right now, with the decline of manufacturing jobs because moving these factories overseas, it causes a strain in communities financially. Along with personal issues, they don’t have a choice, doesn’t? People who work in the fast-food industry deserve the respect just as a person who works in a office. They’re doing it to feed their families, they’re doing it to keep a roof above their heads. In no means they’re lazy with no motivation is just situations out of control that they ended up that way. Hey! At least, they’re working, right? No soliciting for money.

The issue of the whole snafu is that the glory days were men were earning comfortably for their families are gone and replaced with corrupted means to keep the poor people and struggling families unable to get an affordable and effective education while rich corporations and individuals are scrapping them for their own benefit. I think they have to pay for what they did, dollar by dollar.