Although they aren’t members of a labor union, fast food workers from McDonalds, Wendys, KFC and other fast food businesses have become members of a 60 city labor strike effort, protesting their minimum wage earnings which run thousands of dollars a year less than the federal poverty rate. In some cities, workers who are earning around $9 an hour are hoping for salary increases up to $15 a hour. However well intentioned these efforts may be, many businesses may not be able to afford these steeper wages and still offer the kinds of prices they charge customers. Some fast food places like McDonalds and Wendys offer $1.00 or 99cent items on a bargain menu for example. And another problem is that most of these workers are part time workers, where the employer doesn’t have to pay benefits for part time help. Many restaurants charge up to $10 for a hamburger, while these fast food places with their dollar menu items operate on a much tighter margin and need to deal in volume.
Generally, fast food workers have been viewed as replaceable workers, where it is uncertain whether these employers may just replace their workforce rather than offer the higher wages they are seeking. Further, as not being labor union members, these workers have little clout to ask for their jobs back if they are replaced by other workers by their employers.