Be afraid, be very afraid! #fightfor15 has rallied the greed capitalists, who are so animated they will resort to any sort of disingenuous argument as a means to hold onto every single nickel, but it is far more insidious than that, with roots as old as organized labor. A bit of history adds some context here.
While the struggle for fair wages and working conditions is older than the United States, the Coal Strikes of 1919 serve as a useful example. Coal companies invited, as a means of intimidating striking workers, apart from violence, poor Blacks and immigrants to camp outside the gates of mines and factories. The workers would see these desperate poor folks as a threat of replacement. Unscrupulous business has always maintained the strategy of pitting worker against worker. Post World War Two Yugoslav leader Josip “Tito” Broz described those same experiences as a young man in Croatia. The practice transcends national boundaries.
Fast forward to the current debate over what constitutes a living wage, or rather a survivable wage. “Living” is a bit ambiguous. “Survivable” is what we are actually talking about here. And the numbers on that are clear. Working a 40 hour week at the current federal minimum wage of $7.85 per hour grosses $1256 monthly, or $15072 annually. Minus the mandatory SSI of about $250 per month drops that annual to $13072, or roughly $225 weekly. Also, deduct income taxes. Theoretically at this income level you’d get most or all of that back come tax time, but seeing as, without any help in the form of food stamps and the like, you’d be dead before you could file. The human body survives without food about 45 days.
Comes a recent story on the average cost of an apartment in Chicago as being around $1200 per month, a figure I reference almost two years ago. That means, before taxes, with our monthly income of $1256, awe who are we kidding, you’re either homeless or starving at this level, unless you can get some help.
Now, the 2016Federal Poverty Level for a household of one stands at 11,880 Dollars, and just over $6 grand for a household of 2. Relax, I’m getting to the robots. Just setting the stage here. but the point is that the Federal minimum wage has not kept pace with the Poverty Standard. How can that be? Isn’t that like an electrician only connected the red wires but not the black ones to complete the circuit?
So now for the robots. Just needed to set the stage with real facts; t is poverty vs minimum wage, and business use of scabs to intimidate workers. By the way, Walmart receives state, local and federal receives $7.8 billion annually to pay workers so little that US taxpayers, according to the conservative magazine Forbes, pay $6.2 billion in food stamps and other welfare so those workers can eat. They are not alone. In fact, the cost to US taxpayers for lack of a minimum wage, in an economy virtually devoid of decent jobs is around $10 billion annually. Who is the welfare deadbeats actually? Hmm?
First, there really are no fast food robots. That is a fiction. Second, they are vending machines. Mmm, doesn’t that sound delicious. Even from here the fantasy of robot hamburg-bots crumbles quickly. At the very least, consider that instead of the counter workers low paid stockers would be necessary. Also necessary, high paid computer techs, troubleshooters, mechanics and others, a number of which would have to be on hand or call throughout hours of operation, because if a Fry-bot breaks people get angry and you lose business. However, the greatest cost driver would be the upfront cost in buying or leasing machines. That cost could be so large, in terms of 6-7 figures conservatively that one has to make the argument of whether a very large business is doing so out of financial reasons or out or of revenge.
We are a long way from a vast fast food robotic machine in which no prep workers, stockers, cleaners, not to mention simply the idea of freshly made food becomes a reality. We are, however, much closer to a general insurrection by the poor against the exuberantly wealthy who grow astoundingly richer by the day while refusing to part with a penny, as if it was their own blood. Ask Marie Antoinette how that worked? Then again Austin Powers faced this dilemma as well. Come to think of it, that didn’t work out for the Fembots either.
The reality here is something working people and poor people have always understood. The bills always have to be paid. The rich however, have been shifting their bills to the US taxpayer through government subsidies. In that regard big business are thieves not business people. And lastly, what of the small privately owned fast food places that can never afford McNugget-bots. They rely on people. Is this robot scab scheme really just a means of finally eradicating the mom and pop businesses, sort of like Walmart and McDonalds and Home Depot have been doing all along…