About the SEIU trying to unionize fast food joints? A word of caution - Granite Grok

About the SEIU trying to unionize fast food joints? A word of caution

Today is the day where various unions (chief amongst them, the SEIU) are trying to have fast food workers conduct a strike across a number of large cities against the likes of McDonalds, Kentucky fried, Wendy’s, Subway et al.  CNN, the liberal new site, portrays this in Occupy (e.g., socialist / communist) language (thanks to the opinion writer):

Fast food and some retail workers in 50 cities around the country are striking today, and have mounted dozens of strikes over the past few months. Their demands are simple: a pay raise to $15 per hour — roughly double the federal minimum wage — and union recognition.  The “Fast Food Forward” movement began in New York City last fall and quickly spread to other cities. In some places it grew to include workers in other low-wage jobs besides fast food. Like the earlier Occupy Wall Street protests, this new movement has captured the imagination of millions of Americans angry about the ever-widening gap between haves and have-nots.

…They are struggling to support their families on jobs that pay at or close to the legal minimum, with few benefits. Adding insult to injury, full-time work is hard to find in the fast food and retail world. But many workers have no other options, since the Great Recession permanently wiped out millions of better-paying jobs.

From another CNN  post:

Currently, the median pay for the fast food workers across the country is just over $9 an hour, or about $18,500 a year. That’s roughly $4,500 lower than Census Bureau’s poverty income threshold level of $23,000 for a family of four.  Strikes are planned in Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Memphis, New York and dozens of other cities.

Ah yes, it is ALWAYS class warfare with these folks, even over entry level jobs.  Look, in this Obama economy climate, maybe this is the best that many way over qualified folks can grab but these have always been seen as places where high schoolers, college students, and the seniors (looking to pick up a few bucks) would go.  The first group  has no skills, generally, and this is their first rung on the ladder; you aren’t supposed to make a living there.  Yet, that is what the PR from those thinking otherwise would wish us to believe – to use the force of Government over the notion of “living wages” – that no matter who you are, no matter what your skill set is, you should be able to support a family doing it.


Pay is a result of motivation, skills, and motivation.  It is not supposed to be a kind of corporate welfare at the extension of the Government.  And if you look at the labor force participation info, you’ll find that Obama’s Administration has been a miserable failure at managing this “recovery”.  If one does not have the skills, nor the wherewithal to obtain or create a better skill set for themselves, why should one’s pay just be doubled?  Companies are not supposed to be just another avenue in which to provide welfare (although Progressives are trying hard to do just that – EVERYTHING must carry out the diktats of Government – after all it is that thing to which we all belong according to the Democrats.  And they do mean “belong”).

They keep this up and you know who will take their jobs for good?  Well, not a who but a what:

Robot Hamburger maker   Robot Hamburger maker Veggies

Yup, there’s a ‘bot for that!  Just as in other areas of Western venture – companies exist to make a profit.  If a machine can do the same thing for the same price, an owner might like it.  If it can, as the company says it can, make a better burger for the same price, s/he will start looking at a spreadsheet, especially in a low margin business.  And if it is WAY more productive than employees that want more in their pay than what they are actually worth economically, s/he’s going to  schedule a visit for a demonstration.  Why?  Because the employees have either never learned a basic lesson in our capitalistic society (“you and the job you fill are there solely to make your employer a profit”) or have been persuaded that basic economic laws do not apply for them (so that the SEIU and other unions can enhance their own political power).

No longer will they say, “He’s going to end up flipping burgers.” Because now, robots are taking even these ignobly esteemed jobs. Alpha machine from Momentum Machines cooks up a tasty burger with all the fixins. And it does it with such quality and efficiency it’ll produce “gourmet quality burgers at fast food prices.”

With a conveyor belt-type system the burgers are freshly ground, shaped and grilled to the customer’s liking. And only when the burger’s finished cooking does Alpha slice the tomatoes and pickles and place them on the burger as fresh as can be. Finally, the machine wraps the burger up for serving.

And while you fret over how many people you invited to the barbecue, Alpha churns out a painless 360 hamburgers per hour.

San Francisco-based Momentum Machines claim that using Alpha will save a restaurant enough money that it pays for itself in a year, and it enables the restaurant to spend about twice as much on ingredients as they normally would – so they can buy the gourmet stuff. Saving money with Alpha is pretty easy to imagine. You don’t even need cashiers or servers. Customers could just punch in their order, pay, and wait at a dispensing window.

For their next model Momentum Machines plans on adding a custom meat grinding feature so it can mix different meats – 1/3 pork, 2/3 bison sounds like a tasty combo – in the same burger. They’ll also give it gourmet cooking abilities that seasoned chefs use such as charring the burger while retaining its juiciness.

The company plans on launching the first ever restaurant chain with a cook staff made entirely of robots. But not only might we soon find Alpha’s creations at local burger joints, but the company is also targeting convenience stores, food trucks, and somehow even vending machines.

(H/T: Singularity Hub)