Two of the lead stories in today’s NY Times Business section say it all.
C.E.O. pay for the two bosses of Chipotle, the fast food Mexican chain, were $25.1 million in cash and stock (Steve Ellis) and $24.4 million (Montgomery F. Moran). That’s a lot of burritos.
Just below this article is: “Fast Food Protests Spread Overseas.” This piece notes that global strikes at fast food restaurants around the world are being organized in order to try to get a $15 minimum wage. The article quotes Eddie Foreman, a 40 year old worker at McDonald’s, who makes $7.75 a hour and “takes home about $200 a week.” That’s not a lot of big Macs.
The National Restaurant Association (NRA), via Scott DeFife, an executive VP, weighs in: “These are made-for-TV moments–that’s pretty much it.” Mr. DeFife, still quoted in the Fast Food piece, “warned of harmful repercussions if wages climbed to $15 an hour.” He is quoted as staying: “It would have consequences on hiring patterns for Main Street businesses across the country.”
Here are the consequences: If workers made more, they would pay more tax. Schools would benefit as would the general infrastructure. Workers cannot defer or hide income through capital gains or foreign profit deferrals.
When a table is drawn showing CEO salaries of fast food restaurants and the salaries of the employees, it will be clear what’s happening here. The NRA is more interested in Happy Meals than Happy Workers.
On a related note: The issue of minimum wage extends to workers in all restaurants, not just those labeled as fast food. The last thing the NRA wants to see is any diminished profit for owners.