‘Fight For $15’ Minimum Wage Will Turn Into Fight For A Job As Companies Move Towards Automation [Opinion]

After months of various individuals claiming it was a bad idea, McDonald’s has responded to the fight for a $15 minimum wage with a plan to replace cashiers at every single one of their 14,000 stores with automated touch-screen kiosks. In an attempt to try to get employees more money, all the fight for a $15 minimum wage is going to accomplish is costing a lot of people their jobs.

Per The New American, the fight for a $15 minimum wage has backfired as McDonald’s plans on starting with stores in locations where minimum-wage laws mandate the highest rates. This includes New York, Florida, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, and Washington D.C. In time, however, McDonald’s plans to replace cashiers at all of their stores with automated touch-screen kiosks. After all, it is cheaper to have a robot take orders than to pay cashiers the $15 minimum wage they were fighting for.

In April of 2016, Ed Rensi – a man who had worked for the company for three decades and served as president for the company – warned that the fight for a $15 minimum wage would backfire. Per Forbes, Rensi did not believe the fight for a $15 minimum wage would cause any harm to the company. He did, however, believe it would wipe out thousands of entry level jobs. He believed this would cause a lot of people to lose their jobs without many other options to turn to.

How did the fight for a $15 minimum wage backfire? Well, it starts with automation. Ed Rensi, per Forbes, claimed that he and many other experts in the industry warned that demanding a higher minimum wage would force businesses with smaller profit margins to replace some of their full-service employees with some self-service alternatives. At the time, the employees who were heading the fight for the $15 minimum wage claimed the business owners were crying wolf. Turns out they weren’t.

It was earlier this month that McDonald’s first announced the company would be rolling out touch-screen self-service kiosks in all stores across the nation. It is worth noting that it isn’t just McDonald’s turning towards technology that is replacing the jobs of actual people, several different restaurants – including both fast food and full service – are looking at some form of computerized service system.

The question is – has McDonald’s and other companies in the food business made the decision to move forward with automatic and cut jobs out of spite? Are they doing this because they are angry that so many people were trying to fight for a $15 minimum wage?

The answer is no. McDonald’s, and companies like McDonald’s, are doing what they need to do in response to the fight for a $15 minimum wage to survive. Some of these businesses do not have the profit margin to offer an increased wage to the employees. So, forcing them to is going to force them to look at options that allow them to accommodate the increased price of labor. Automation is a solution to the rising costs of labor. It allows the restaurants to continue to offer the customer a pleasant experience without overspending their profit margin on labor expenses.

The fight for the $15 minimum wage backfired on everyone because McDonald’s, and other companies like McDonald’s, are going to put the customers first. Without the customers, these companies would go out of business.

It Isn’t Just About McDonald’s

The biggest reason why the fight for a $15 minimum wage is destined to backfire is because not all businesses are as fortunate as McDonald’s is. Some businesses do not have the capital they need to shift from having physical people handling customer service to automation. In the long run, it is going to save the companies money on labor. However, the technology is not cheap. This is forcing some companies to lay off some of their employees, move to a less expensive revenue, or just shut down the company completely. Some companies just can’t foot the bill to make the shift.

Companies across California were forced to close because they didn’t have the profit margin necessary to stay in business and meet the new minimum wage.

Demanding a $15 Minimum Wage Backfired

People decided to fight for a $15 minimum wage because they wanted more money. For the people who were lucky enough to hang on to their job after the fight was won – congratulations. The question is – what good did this fight really do when it has cost — and will continue to cost — so many people their jobs?

The fight for a $15 minimum wage backfired because people assumed these companies are holding out on paying their employees more out of greed. While this might be the case for a small number of companies, a large portion of companies are paying their employees what they can afford to pay.

Do you think the fight for a $15 minimum wage has backfired on McDonald’s employees, as well as other minimum wage employees? Share your thoughts in the comments section located down below.

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