Labor — July 31, 2013 at 7:22 am

Would you pay 68 cents more for a Big Mac so your server could make a living wage?


I would

See the update below for a rally to support fast food workers in Detroit at 10 a.m. this morning.

Arnobio Morelix, a student at the University of Kansas, did some figuring recently and determined that, if McDonald’s employees earned a living wage of $15 per hour, the cost of their “famous” dollar menu would only increase 17¢.

This week, fast food workers across the country are striking for a living wage. Their actions are closing stores down:

Carrying signs emblazoned with slogans like “Super size my pay!”, employees of McDonald’s, KFC, and other fast food chains staged the first day of a strike in at least seven cities Monday. Their demand: raise wages to $15 an hour.

The walk-outs emptied fast food restaurants in New York City, Chicago, and St. Louis, among others, mobilizing support among not only workers but also clergy and city council representatives. Chanting, “Workers have a right. Fight, fight, fight!” the strikers reportedly cleared Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue McDonald’s of all of its employees but managers Monday afternoon. Online, supporters chimed in with tweets like “#iamfastfood” and “Poverty wages. #imnotlovingit.”

Not for the first time, strikers expressed their frustrations with the lack of unions, limited job mobility, and poor compensation that they say characterizes the fast food industry. According to the National Employment Law Project, the average front-line fast food employee makes $8.94 an hour — scarcely more than half of what strikers say is a “living wage.”

Meanwhile, McDonald’s CEO Donald Thompson made a tasty $8.75 million last year.

Morelix’s research showed that a Big Mac would go up just 68¢ and a Big Mac meal just 97¢.

So, the question is, if we paid our fast food workers a living wage, would Americans be willing to pay the extra 17% for their food that would allow that to happen?

I know I would. How about you?

UPDATE: As Greg Sullivan points out in the comments, there will be a rally in Detroit to support fast food workers at 10:00 a.m. They will be meeting at the Long John Silvers at 11288 Gratiot Avenue in Detroit. You can RSVP HERE.

[CC photo credit: ibmphoto24 | Flickr]