Thompson on Why Fast-Food Worker Strikes Are Doomed

Published September 1st, 2013 -  - 09.01.132

Derek Thomson at the The Atlantic maintains that the fast-food work strikes won’t accomplish much.  His argument in a nutshell:

The strikes would have a much better shot at inspiring a change in franchise- and corporate-level policy if fast-food chains perceived one of two threats: (a) a threat to the steady supply of food-service workers who want to be employed at any wage and (b) a threat from consumers demanding higher wages for their fast-food clerks by not buying burgers and fries at McDonald’s.


Instead, the big-picture doesn’t reveal either of these pressure points. Fast-food jobs aren’t merely scattered among the most despondent corners of the economy. They’re growing fastest among some of the richest and most-educated metros. Bridgeport, Conn., Salt Lake City, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and Washington, D.C., are among the five areas with the most growth in food service work between 2010 and 2013. . . .


[T]he collapse of middle-income stalwarts like manufacturing has left a glut of young low-skill workers who are rushing into to fill local service-sector needs at big-box stores and fast-food chains. And that, to me, suggests another thing: That there are more people willing to do these jobs than there are people willing to strike.

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