Economics Research Backs Up Wage Increase for Fast-Food Workers

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Economically, it works. Affirming what fast-food workers have long argued, a newly-released paper, "A $15 Minimum Wage: How the Fast-Food Industry Could Adjust Without Shedding Jobs," confirms that raising the minimum wage to $15 can be accomplished.

The paper, written by Robert Pollin, professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute and Jeannette Wicks-Lim, a PERI research assistant professor, charts the potential impact of increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour.

Combining previous studies' data and U.S. Economic Census surveys, the paper determined that the impact of higher pay on the fast-food industry over the course of four year wouldn't even effect the bottom-line, according to Common Dream. And the conclusion: the industry "could absorb the increase in its overall wage bill without resorting to cuts in their employment levels at any point over this four-year adjustment period."

The paper stated that raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour is possible by "a combination of turnover reductions; trend increases in sales growth; and modest annual price increases over the four-year period."

As the movement of fast-food workers continues to gain momentum through strikes and protests, their argument was affirmed through economic research. Not only is it doable, it is affordable across the entire fast-food industry.


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  • Doubling the labor costs won’t force an employer to reduce the number of employees? Really? This is what grocery store clerks thought also- been using those automated check outs systems lately? So creating equipment to flip a burger is betyond modern industrial science? It takes one days training to flip a burger or put coke in a cup- if you want more dollars learn a skill- get promoted to supervisor – working at a burger joint is not suppose to support a wife, 3 bedroom house and two kids.

    And how many low income people feed their families at burger joints because they are cheap? Raising salaries will require higher food prices for customers much of whom are lower income people who can’t afford a sit down restaurant.

    If you don’t like your hourly salary- quit and find a job that pays more- no one is chained to the frying machine.

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