The call for a minimum wage of $15 an hour has become rather prominent in American society, with protests and petitions abound. A significantly higher minimum wage would, in theory, help many people.
For example, in 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1.3 million individuals earned the federal minimum wage of $7.25, while another 1.7 million actually made less than the minimum wage.
Overall, three million individuals made the minimum wage or less, making up nearly four percent of all workers paid by the hour.
Fast food workers would be one of the groups most poised to gain from a wage increase… that is, if they aren’t replaced by robots and mechanized labor.
Ed Rensi, a former McDonald’s CEO, expressed on Fox News recently how he believes that it’ll soon be “cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who’s making $15 an hour bagging French fries.”
In other words, the more in wages that employers would have to pay, the more job loss there will be.
Rensi went on to mention how he had seen machines that could do the work humans do at the National Restaurant Show, the largest trade show in the industry.
The former McDonald’s head honcho also mentioned how he believed this trend of using machines would grow beyond the fast food industry. The more that employees in low-skill jobs push for higher wages, the higher the probability of job displacement.