The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Fast food workers deserve at least $15 minimum wage

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN

In its battle to turn every McJob into a real job, Fight for $15 has made headlines again with its recent win in California.

Fight for $15 started out as a strike by hundreds of fast food workers in New York City to increase minimum wage and it has turned into a power movement across the country, and even other cities outside of the United States.

Although the campaign targets underpaid workers in various job fields, many focus on its efforts for fast food chain employees only. The reaction is often negative when people feel it isn’t fair for fast food workers to earn higher wages for flipping burgers.

However, employees of fast food restaurants in America work for an industry that makes over $200 billion each year. That is $200 billion spent on big macs, supersized meals and an extra large coke.

Story continues below advertisement

And the people behind your happy meal get paid around $9 an hour.

Americans have grown up hearing things such as, ‘Do you want to spend the rest of your life flipping burgers? Then do your homework!’ or ‘Go to College if you don’t want to end up flipping burgers.’

People have been made to believe that working for a fast food restaurant shouldn’t be a full-time career. But the reality is that for many Americans, this is their career.

About 70 percent of today’s fast food employees are at least 20 years of age or older. It is a far cry from the commonplace idea of the teen with braces standing behind the register asking, ‘can I take your order?’

Older employees, many with little to no college experience, are the majority and some have only a high school diploma under their belt. For many of the employees, working at McDonalds is the only option they have.

It has been engrained in our minds that working at McDonalds or any fast food restaurant should be temporary instead of a lifelong occupation. A wage of $8 per hour may sound reasonable for a teenager saving money for the movies, but not for an adult trying to support their family. Society cannot continue to deny that, today, these employees are trying to do just that.

When Fight for $15 started, its protesters never imagined their voices would be heard all over the world. These activists took a stand to change the working conditions in their environments and have continued to push boundaries.

As American people, we cannot continue to look down upon fast food workers if we hope to live in a true democracy, allowing deserving people the ability to feed their families. It may not be your “American dream,” but it isn’t right to take away a decent living from those who carry out McJobs as their full time career.

More to Discover