Robots vs. minimum wage: As pressure grows on McDonald's, Applebee's does an end run

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  • LaSelaMelvins New Orleans, LA
    Dec. 29, 2013 6:13 p.m.

    @RedShirt and wrz
    The same problem with socialism will soon become a problem with capitalism: there won't be enough skilled jobs...
    For ANYONE. It doesn't matter how skilled you become after a few years in school; a robot will be able to become 500x as skilled in mere seconds. When modular robots becomes ubiquitous (when it does, not if, though it's a slightly distant when), that removes the dexterity problem. The cognitive problem also will soon be an ex-issue.

    When that happens, major changes will have to be made to the way we work. And whether that means a conservative revolution, a socialist revolution, a luddite revolution, transhumanism, I don't know. I can't say. I know I'll be alive for it (I used to think this was year 3000 stuff; now I'm relative sure it's very much a 21st century issue) and I can't wait to see how we adapt to the automation of the world.
    But capitalism and socialism as we know it aren't going to survive another century if true. And I'm pessimistic about the "if" part.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Dec. 11, 2013 4:05 p.m.

    To "mark" actually it does. Becuase if you constantly listen to people who believe in a collectivist governent, they will eventually get their policies implemented. The economy of a nation reflects the understanding of the people. If the people all have a collectivist understanding of the economy, they suffer. When they develop a conservative or free market understanding, they prosper.

    So again, tell us where socialism actually works and doesn't rely on capitalism for funding.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 11, 2013 2:04 p.m.

    "And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales and lay them at the apostles' feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need."

    Redshirt, again: the existence of socialist countries has nothing to do with conservatives understanding economics. They don't. Or rather most of them don't. For instance, the claim that capitalism supports socialism. Nonsense.

    Or the conservative claim that minimum wage hikes lead to inflation or unemployment. Hogwash.

    The thing is we have many cases of minimum wage hikes available for review, and the numbers simply do not back up the conservative claims.

    -wrz, recognizing and wanting to do something about the brutal disparity in wealth distribution does not mean liberals want wage equality.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    Dec. 11, 2013 10:09 a.m.

    "We could start by promoting skilled labor jobs while kids are still in school. That way they would have a job that pays well and a whole lot less debt."

    Friend, we can't have everyone going to school and finding better skilled labor jobs. There ain't enough skilled labor jobs for that.

    The economic facts of the matter is... in our capitalist society there will always be the rich, the poor, and every level in between. That's how it works.

    If the low wage earner in the fast foods industry gets a pay raise everyone else will demand, and get one... then the price of goods and services will go up across the board to cover the higher wages, putting the low earner back at (new) poverty levels.

    If income equality is wanted, we will have to move to a socialist economy... everyone with essentially the same wages... which hasn't worked so well for other countries around the world. Because it also comes with loss of freedom and control over much of our lives.

    The trick to a successful life is to get trained for skilled jobs... and hope that mostly everyone else doesn't.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Dec. 11, 2013 7:43 a.m.

    To "mark" then tell us where socialism or any other collectivist system works? In the countries that practice a mixed economy, it is the capitalism that supports the socialism.

    To "Shaun" and how many of those rich leftists work for minimum wage at McDonalds? How many liftist small business owners do you know? Every small business owner that I know is quite capitalistic, and is frustrated with the taxes and regulations that Obama keeps pushing.

  • 1978 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 11, 2013 7:07 a.m.

    To my liberal friends - If income equality is the goal then you need to adopt the economic plan of communist countries where everyone by U.S. standards are poor, but at least their equal! I'll bet you think that Cuba or North Korea are a paradise.

    I was raised in a lower middle class family and was taught to get an education and work hard to get ahead. I was not taught to work at McDonalds for my life's occupation then whine that I am not making as much as an entrepenuer or someone with a college degree.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 11:40 p.m.

    Redshirt, listing a number of foreign countries has nothing to do with rather or not conservatives really understand economics.

    They don't. For instance:

    "The problem is that if you want to find a "hard working fast food employee, or honest small business owner" you will find a conservative."

    See, here is a conservative, you, that thinks political persuasion has something to do with work ethic. It doesn't.

    "If an employer doesn't think someone's contribution to his business will be worth as much as the minimum wage, he won't hire them, whereas if he could pay them less, he might."

    An employer will hire someone if he has a demand to fill.

    Everything rustymommy said.

    "The worst to fare in a minimum wage hike would be the poorest, least skilled workers among us."


    And the example of what McDonalds would do, absolutely ludicrous.

    "If we had no minimum wages we would likely (not) have an abundance of manufacturing jobs lost to overseas due to the US's high wages and benefits. . ."

    This person really thinks the US should compete with China in wages?

    See? Conservatives really have no clue about economics.

  • RichardB Murray, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 10:39 p.m.

    Heard the same arguments back in the late sixties. The only way to lessen the gap between rich and poor is to raise wages. Giving entitlements in their place, subsidized by taxpayers doesn't work.

    Australia and other countries have A higher minimum wage, most have better economies than the US.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    Dec. 10, 2013 10:02 p.m.

    "Minimum wage should not even exist."

    Agreed. If we had no minimum wages we would likely have an abundance of manufacturing jobs lost to overseas due to the US's high wages and benefits... including those negotiated by unions.

    Foreigners are taking our jobs because it costs too much to produce in the US. Even a certain US newspaper uses foreign labor. Call in when you get missed for a home delivery, you'll get a foreigner... while we've millions of unemployed Americans sucking up $billions on unemployment.

    "Meanwhile, I will not take any job, only the job I like."

    So, what will you do to put food on the table and pay the rent? You can't stay unemployed forever. Even unemployment runs out after 99 weeks.

    "... too many workers are also on food stamps and other taxpayer paid subsidized programs."

    Government interference is what ruins our economic system.

  • killpack Sandy, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 8:58 p.m.


    The worst to fare in a minimum wage hike would be the poorest, least skilled workers among us. If the minimum wage is raised to $15/hour, McDonalds will fire the bottom 10-20% performing workers who are simply not worth $15/hour, and replace them with their managers. Junior corporate management would replace the store managers. If your in high school looking for a burger flipper job, forget about it. Not for $15/hour.

  • Rustymommy Clovis, NM
    Dec. 10, 2013 7:25 p.m.

    Raising minimum wage doesn't help anybody. When you raise minimum wage, employer hand it along to the purchaser. If that purchaser is a middle man, he hands it along to the end user. Eventually somebody pays for it. If the minimum wage is raised at places like McD's and WalMart, those companies will just pass it along to the consumers. If you raise the minimum wage significantly, then employers have to raise payscales for those within a range just above minimum wage. So costs of purchasing necessary items goes up even more. Imagine if minimum wage were doubled. Everything from hamburgers to underwear would jump in price immediately. Also imagine if you worked hard for a college degree, got your first job and then found out that high school dropouts were going to make the same as you. The unfairness would incite other wage increases and raise prices even more. Raising minimum wage only encourages employers to outsource more jobs to foreign countries. It becomes a vicious cycle in which everybody, especially those at the bottom of the pay scale, lose in terms of "real" dollars.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 5:25 p.m.

    @Redshirt. I know a lot of people who are hardworking well off and wealthy people who lean left. I think the biggest problem today is nobody can have a honest and kind discussion politically, without either person hijacking the other persons point of view and going to the extreme end with it.

    If somebody says I think we should we help out people in bad times, then a conservative will jump to the extreme and say that that person must want big government and must be a socialist.

    And if somebody says we need to cut back on government aid then the other side goes into the extreme mode and calls that person a heartless person.

    The biggest problem is neither party wants the other party to win and this hurts the country overall.

  • hermounts Pleasanton, CA
    Dec. 10, 2013 5:05 p.m.

    Employers pay people to work, not to live, so it's useless to talk about a "living wage." If an employer doesn't think someone's contribution to his business will be worth as much as the minimum wage, he won't hire them, whereas if he could pay them less, he might.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 4:36 p.m.

    To "mark" history shows us that conservatives do understand economics. Tell us, why did the USSR collapse? Why aren't North Korea or Cuba economic powerhouses? Why is it that China was a 3rd world country until they adopted capitalism as an economic engine? Why did Venezuela go from a free capitalist country that was growing economically to a place where they have riots for TP?

    If you " wouldn't pay spit for for a wall street money changer. They provide zero value to a society. Round them all up and put them right where they belong. With all the other thieves." You should start with Congress. Nearly all of of the wealth that the members of congress have was obtained through money changing on wall street. Do you really think they have the solutions you seek?

    The problem is that if you want to find a "hard working fast food employee, or honest small business owner" you will find a conservative.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 3:23 p.m.

    Wow, conservatives think they have a corner on understanding economics. Of course nothing could be further from the truth. Minimum wages do not affect overall employment. Minimum wage hikes do not lead to automation. It is astounding how little conservatives, who claim to understand everything about business and economies, really understand.

    Personally, I wouldn't pay spit for for a wall street money changer. They provide zero value to a society. Round them all up and put them right where they belong. With all the other thieves. And the same goes for all those crooks at the heads of the mega corps.

    Give me a hard working fast food employee, or honest small business owner, any day of the week. And twice on Sundays.

    For most of the rest of these so called job creators: they can go pound sand.

  • A1994 Centerville, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 2:35 p.m.


    "Oh please, you all are the ones ignoring that the worst years for wealth inequality in this nation the past century were 1928 and 2007. What happened immediately after those years? Massive economic collapse."

    True. The other thing in common with both those years is that we had liberal Democratic administration that followed and years of stagnant growth.

    The way to close the income gap is not to start paying Burger King employees $15/hr. There isn't a vault of money sitting back behind the freezer that can be used. We could start by promoting skilled labor jobs while kids are still in school. That way they would have a job that pays well and a whole lot less debt. Then they could invest the money they save and start paying the same tax rate that Mitt Romney does. I think we would all like that. We could focus on making more Americans wealthy instead of figuring out how to legally take from already wealthy Americans and giving their money to a program that will keep the poor down permanently.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 1:32 p.m.

    "Just ignore the basic fundamentals of economics and have a holier than thou attitude"

    Oh please, you all are the ones ignoring that the worst years for wealth inequality in this nation the past century were 1928 and 2007. What happened immediately after those years? Massive economic collapse.

  • Bruce A. Frank San Jose, CA
    Dec. 10, 2013 1:26 p.m.

    Nation wide the "restaurant/fast food workers demonstrations" had fewer than 1/10 of one percent of actual restaurant food employees participating. The demonstrations were manned exclusive by PAID ($50 each) union members, and off the street hires, paid for by the unions. The people working in the establishments like to be employed and have no interest in rocking the boat to the point of causing the employer eliminate their job.

    It is the unions wanting dues payers, not a concern over workers that motivates the pushes for higher minimum wages.

  • jzer Haworth, OK
    Dec. 10, 2013 12:26 p.m.

    No doubt the President knows what is best relating to minimum wage. If you watch Obama close you come to realize that he appears to have a strong disdain for our current form of government. I think he would be very happy as a dictator who could put into law anything that he, in his great wisdom, sees is best for all of us lesser people that he feels superior to.

  • Anti Bush-Obama Chihuahua, 00
    Dec. 10, 2013 12:11 p.m.

    Well if people want to go to work just to draw a paycheck they will never see any advancement. You have to go above and beyond your job description or be innovative if you want more money. You don't get a chief's salary by being an indian. I have did what I just mentioned and I actually turned down promotions because It would've required me to work 70 hours per week. My Generation was raised on the Simpsons and a high school dropout walking in the door and working at a nuclear power plant doesn't happen. They think any job garauntees a house, car, fancy tv, etc. I wish the world was like that but it's not. Even a lot of college degrees are pretty much worthless in todays world because their is an inflation of them. The school system has become pretty dumbed down over the last hundred years. I saw an old 8th grade test from 1912 and those are test questions that would stump the average college student these days. I could ask 100 people about Jacksonian Democracy and nobody would probably know what it even is.

  • RedShirtMIT Cambridge, MA
    Dec. 10, 2013 12:08 p.m.

    To "Itsjstmeagain" actually we are not subsidizing the fast food industry with food stamps. We are encouraging people to be lazy. Why look for a better job or gain a skill when the government will let you work at an unskilled job?

    You blame the employer for hiring people willing to work for minimum wage, but the problem is the people who are willing to work for that minimum wage. Think of the recent strikes at the fast food places around the US. If all of those people quit, how long would it take to replace them? Until there are no workers willing to perform a particular job for minimum wage, the employers have no reason to pay you more.

    To "marxist" the most ironic thing is that since Obama took office and started us down the path of socialism, the average worker's paycheck has decreased by over $5000 and the income inequality has grown more than at any other time. Personally I would listen to the Businessman/Musician Bono. Capitalism does more to lift people out of poverty than government programs ever will.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 11:58 a.m.

    Middle class workers had better think again if they suppose that the minimum wage issue just belongs to low income folks. The overall real wage in the United States has been in decline for 30 years. The pressure to reduce wages is increasing as the wealthy of the country realize they just don't need the local plebes (they suppose) in the global economy. Sometime in the near future the capital-siding middle class (well represented in this blog) will have to decide if their loyalties are well placed.

  • Vanceone Provo, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 11:37 a.m.

    Ah, yes. Remind me again of how well the baker's union strike worked against Hostess? Those Bakers certainly are sitting pretty today, collecting their fair share... oh? The company went under and they all lost their jobs? Just as the company said was going to happen? Darn it.

    Look: McDonalds is not a charity. Why would you want to work there? It's a great starter job, or a second job. But unless you intend to get into management, you shouldn't be making it your career. All of you who are whining about how oppressive, etc these places are: why can't they start their own company? Why not get some marketable skill? Obama has not yet killed off the ability to start your own business or get your own skill. Heck, keep your McJob and start something on the side until it takes off. Take responsibility for your own life, and not complain about the "oppression of labor!"

    Gosh, do liberals ever, ever, ever, conceive that possibly people should take responsibility for themselves?

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 11:36 a.m.

    I do not understand why there has to be an argument about the rich vs the middle class or the poor. Our economy is circular in nature. A person most likely becomes wealthy by serving the middle class or the poor(walmart).

    Almost every business in existence today serves the middle class and the poor. Very few cater to the wealthy exclusive. So who provides the jobs is a chicken and egg argument.

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    Dec. 10, 2013 11:29 a.m.

    I stated in my previous comment that increasing the minimum wage is good for automation engineers. Obama Care is a major help. As small companies approach the magic number of 50 employees, they will do almost anything to avoid becoming "Obama Care Eligible".

    These guys are likely to automate everything they can do avoid that status.

  • Billy Bob Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 11:23 a.m.

    Protesting their way out of a job. I hate for anyone to lose their job, but they should have seen this coming. In today's world, it is not hard to find ways to automate jobs if the cost of labor gets too high. With the threat of being required to pay as much as $15/hour for a job that probably isn't even worth the current minimum wage, of course the food service industry is going to adapt. Anyone who wants a minimum wage doesn't understand economics. And anyone who wants a $15 minimum wage REALLY doesn't understand economics.

  • killpack Sandy, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 11:18 a.m.


    I personally do not want to see another depression. That is why I wholeheartedly advocate against the minimum wage, which crowds individuals into unemployment. There are far too many in this country already not working. Raising the minimum wage would make that problem worse.

  • kfbob SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 11:15 a.m.

    To: spring street

    Wait, then why do we keep hearing how we need to worship the rich because they "create jobs?"

    The wealthy buy cars, new homes, durable goods. Companies that build homes cars and durable goods. certainly make profit their labors. They employee a lot of people to build a car or house or furniture etc.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 11:11 a.m.

    "NONE of my EARNED money should go to someone else's paycheck." OK, I agree. But workers should be compensated for the value they add. They should be paid according to what THEY earn. Because the big fast food chains can dictate wage (it is not a nice supply and demand determined wage because the buyers of labor in this case can dictate wage), workers are not compensated for their productivity. The portion of value for which labor is not compensated is surplus value and it is the source of profit and capital. Capitalism lives through the exploitation of labor.

  • quickmatch Oak Park, IL
    Dec. 10, 2013 10:39 a.m.

    One writer thinks unskilled labor (median weekly $471, no HS) wants to make the income of college grads ($1066, BS; $1300, MS) without working; thinks "A really good depression would wake some folks up"; Thinks we should have stepped aside in 2007 and let the system run amok. What a delightfully ignorant POV! He says a depression would be good for the country! The loss of 8 million jobs in 2008 wasn’t enough for him; he’d like what 16 million? 32 million? The fact that there are over 4 million still out of work today draws from him a “get a job!” response when there are 90,000 college and 3 million HS graduates each year looking for jobs and 2.3 million new jobs were created in the last 12 months. I can only assume that ThomasJefferson has never spent 26 weeks, let alone four years looking for a job and being denied, as the case is increasingly today, because they are unemployed (oh, yes, some firms not hiring if you are not currently employed).

  • killpack Sandy, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 10:28 a.m.

    It is greedy to demand a minimum wage by government mandate, when others are more than willing to work for less. Minimum wage crowds workers into unemployment. It isn't fair. This is how the mafia operates. Why do we tolerate this goombahism in our country? Why are freedoms that were costly to obtain going by the wayside, just so we can go back to the European way of doing things?

  • Joan Watson TWIN FALLS, ID
    Dec. 10, 2013 10:16 a.m.

    Thank you San Diego, for correcting Spring Street and Maudine on who said what. If more people observantly read and understood what was being communicated there would be less misunderstanding.
    In ones opinion, if the minimum wage is raised, higher living costs will follow suit.

  • Itsjstmeagain Merritt Island, Fl
    Dec. 10, 2013 10:15 a.m.

    For those who are satisfied with the status quo, it is really costing you money. You subsidize fast food joints and restaurants, too many workers are also on food stamps and other taxpayer paid subsidized programs.
    Ronald McDonald and the Burger King thanks you.

  • dski HERRIMAN, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 10:08 a.m.

    Have you heard of a poor person or homeless person hiring or giving someone a job? We are so focused on employees and forgot about those who gave the jobs in the first place. The entrepreneur who risked his own money and took a chance in the market place will be either reap the success of his effort or driven to bankruptcy by the same. These are the folks who create jobs. When the government dictates prices and cost of things, we lose most of our liberties, as we know it as in Obamacare. The market should determine the worth of any good or service. The government conducts business as in Obamacare using someone else's (taxpayers) money. Of course there should be some rules and regulations to safeguard the public. I am currently unemployed. If someone offers me a job I like, I will be most grateful. Meanwhile, I will not take any job, only the job I like. That's my choice. I am not complaining or blaming anyone else for my situation but myself. People can always find another job or go back to school and learn new skills that earn the money they think they deserve.

  • mrjj69 bountiful, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 9:52 a.m.

    0bama apparently flunked basic economics

  • SJH Dayton, OH
    Dec. 10, 2013 9:48 a.m.

    Automation does bless and improve our lives. It is not a loss of jobs if a company improves it's ability to give the consumer what it wants at a good price. It is simply a change in the job market. Do we here any out cry of the buggy maker from the time the car took its place? Or do you picket purchasing the robot mixed and packaged ice cream in the store freezer because it took from the hand cranked versions of the past? We are human which means we are adaptable, if we chose. Instead of putting so many hours in trying to force someone to pay more, use that time to gain better skills.

  • Rational Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 9:00 a.m.

    Whether or not businesses are in business to make money, what is a certainty is if they can't make money, they won't be in business.

    And why is it bad for a business to be in business to make money? Isn't that the same reason workers go to work?

    The "seven deadly sins" are wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. Tell me which of those "workers" are exempt from.

    Anger you aren't paid enough?

    Don't think you have to get an education and be better than your peers to make money?

    Think you are worth more than you are?

    Want what your employer worked harder to get than you work?

    Envy what your employer has?

    Want to earn more than you are worth by requiring it to be legislated?

    I'm not an employer, but I side with them.

  • Rational Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 8:54 a.m.

    @ anti-liar

    "A lot of guts, these restaurateurs have.

    What an ugly aspect of human nature, Greed is."

    I agree greed is ugly, but it isn't the restaurateurs who are greedy. It is the people who expect to make a living doing a job that can be easily replaced, whether by automation or another unskilled laborer.

  • Rational Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 8:46 a.m.

    @ Kings Court

    "I won't use the automatic check-out machine stores at restaurants because it costs jobs. I will not leave a tip at a table where I do the ordering myself on a dirty, germ ridden tablet."

    As opposed to a germ-ridden menu? Place your order and then go to the loo.

    You know what "costs jobs?" Businesses going out of business because their operating costs, including labor, are too high. Go ahead and stand in the checkout line -- as long as it lasts.

    @ LifeLibertyHappiness

    "People need to get rid of the entitlement mentality and stop feeling like victims. This is America. If you don't like your situation, go change it."

    Amen to that. And teach your children to do the same.

  • CKS007 Clearfield, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 8:45 a.m.

    Hmm...will this automation restaurant system work? Let's look at another automation failure. Try calling your mobile provider or a cable company. What do you get? A robotic phone system that tries to force you into performing a basic function (i.e. give us money by paying your bill). I call for customer service which means I have something unique I need to talk with a person about. I end up taking the shortest route possible to get to a live person so I can get some real service. Even credit card companies are advertising that you can reach a live person because they know without customer service (something automation cannot provide) they lose the customer. This will be the same thing with restaurants. I go to a manned checkout counter at a store because I may need help with something. If I had to choose between an automated restaurant or a restaurant that has someone greet me with a smile, the human element will win all the time.

  • tgurd Gonzales, LA
    Dec. 10, 2013 8:41 a.m.

    Really good comments I am glad most have the grasp on resturants and fast food places. I agree very much with the mentality of getting something for nothing, seems like those in gov want that for us, reminds me of a lot of bad situations that our nation fought for other nations to rid of and now here we are in the middle of those that want to upsurup those freedoms we have so many good Americans over. I agree I don't see the president members of the house or senate emptying their wallets to help those in need, however they sure can empty ours

  • Oh, please! Saint George, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 8:33 a.m.

    @Thomas Jefferson:
    Unfortunately, todays unskilled worker's want to make a college grads wages and do little work. The old saying, "it's hard to find good help," is more prevalent today than ever. . . Unfortunately, the nanny State enabled everyone, creating a lack of competition and apathy.

    Students grow up wanting pay they don't have to work for. Fast food jobs can be learned in a day, and doesn't require much skill, yet the workers want to be paid the same as a skilled worker.

    Disgruntled workers are going to make it more difficult for high school kids and college students who need the work and are willing to work for lower pay. . . These jobs are not intended to be full-time careers.

    Fast food jobs (except maybe managers) are not intended as take-care-of-a-family jobs. Cart before the horse in many of these people's lives.

  • LittleStream Carson City, NV
    Dec. 10, 2013 8:18 a.m.

    Interesting article. Shows me just how much employers value their employees! The sad reality is that if the businesses went to robots, don't you think they would have to be maintained, they would wear out. And the employers would have to pay for maintenance and to purchase new units. This article is such a sad comment about out society. Businesses are only in it for the money! Employees and customers are just a necessary evil! Wow!

  • wazzup Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 8:16 a.m.

    There should always be minimum wage jobs to offer minimum effort employees. Minimum wage jobs are there as a stepping stone for better paying jobs in the future as you learn to work. If a minimum wage job is your ultimate goal based on your ambitions, then you are probably in a job well suited for your abilities.

    The only problem is if unemployment pays better than a minimum wage job.

  • gittalopctbi Glendale, AZ
    Dec. 10, 2013 8:04 a.m.

    Minimum wage should not even exist. Another form of what a government should not regulate. That said, those who complain because they cannot "support their families on minimum wage" should have done more in getting a higher education. Yes, there are those who may be high school grads or even university grads who are working in fast food restaurants--that's different. That's because of a poor job market overall, and the minimum wage is the least of their worries whether they realize it or not. Now they are shooting themselves in the foot as more employers will go to automation. You can deny it, but it will happen especially with the incredible advances in robotics today.

    The proposal to subsidize these workers' salaries with taxes is another HORRIBLE idea by liberals. NONE of my EARNED money should go to someone else's paycheck. I earned it, I will keep it, thank you very much. Liberals are so eager to take and spend MY money. I'm sick of it.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Dec. 10, 2013 7:49 a.m.


    There are many people in this world who would love to be exploited with the opportunity of building on that for a better future.

    Low skilled jobs has a purpose, and are not for career employment.

  • I know it. I Live it. I Love it. Provo, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 7:47 a.m.

    MC Squared,

    My experience with people in Texas, even Plano, is very different than pretty much everywhere else.

    For starters, we fly our state flag lower than the U.S. flag, out of respect. Texans enjoy explaining the reason they don't do it. We don't really care.

    Secondly, supposedly I'll only ever find good BBQ in Texas. I'm not entirely sure why no one else in the country can cook. But that's apparently how it is.

    I have nothing against Texas, but just because Texan's do it, doesn't mean everyone else will follow. Nor does it make it the right way of doing things.

  • 1978 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 7:41 a.m.

    Let us really be fair and increase the minimum wage to $25/hour. We should also demand that all businesses have health insurance, retirement and 10 weeks paid vacation for all employees.

    Wow. It feels good to be a liberal. Just ignore the basic fundamentals of economics and have a holier than thou attitude. Oh - One more thing, anyone who disagrees with this argument obviously doesn't care about the poor like I do.

  • Itsjstmeagain Merritt Island, Fl
    Dec. 10, 2013 7:34 a.m.

    I do read Science Fiction. In earlier days, automation was to bring on a world of leasure and contentment. People would live in a civilized manner with want for nothing. What went wrong today?
    Automation is used only to serve the profits of the owners and shareholders who contribute nothing of a sweat to operating the company. Remember the "Job Creators" who were given large tax incentitives (breaks) to create jobs? I've read from several sources that the money we so gladly gave them is sitting in off shore accounts to the tune of $40 Trillion, up from $10 Trillion when Bush took office.
    Science fiction also portrays the working class as Chattle, nothing but pieces of meat owned by the most elite. Use them up and throw them out. Not Science Fiction but History sees slaves inthe same role, to include the 10 Million in Germany prior to '45.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 7:27 a.m.

    @Hutterite "Have we lost sight of the fact that those that work for business are supposed to be the customers of that business?"

    Not customers. Trading partners. Workers trade their labor for a paycheck. There's no reason anyone has to put up with being exploited. Find an employer who will treat you like a person and pay you what you're worth. If you're not worth much yet as an employee, develop yourself. Education is a key, and so is intelligent, hard work.

  • Arizona Border Dude NACO, AZ
    Dec. 10, 2013 7:26 a.m.

    The threat of automation again rears it's ugly head. And, in this case rightly so. A request for more pay is normally acceptable, unless the amount demanded is outrageous. In this situation, that is the case. The workers are demanding a 100% increase in wages. This can trigger a price skyrocket that will exceed all other inflation in world history.

    The protests are not the solution to the problem. The businesses are failing their employees by not setting standards that the employees must meet for pay increases. Then communicating those standards to the employee.

    Businesses are created to make money for the owners. But, the owners can make more money by setting fair standards and wages that are in accordance with the willingness of the employee to meet the plateaus of those standards.

    In most cases good employees create a rapport with the customers that encourages repeat business. Businesses also create more wealth when customers tell how great that business is. Creating good employees does just that.

    Happy customers are the greatest advertisements a business can have.

  • LoBo4Justice Coalville, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 7:16 a.m.

    Jesus would be proud! Have we fallen so low that we don't care if fully employed people can't afford to eat at the restaurants in which they work? Give me a break. Raise their wages and raise the price of a burger by fifty cents. It is good for the economy so it is good for all of us, including the business owners who want to make money.

  • RBB Sandy, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 7:04 a.m.

    The fundamental facts of life are that we constantly displaced low skilled workers (and some high skilled workers) with technology. More than 25% of the population used to be involved in agriculture and worked 60+ hour weeks. Now it is 2%. Do you insist that Smiths sell only hand picked food? Do you boycott McDonald's because a machine fills your drinks? Do you wear only hand stitched clothing? Do you read the Deseret News in paper to employ the printers and paper boy? Do you boycott REDBOX and go to BLOCKBUSTER?

    Businesses are in business to make money. The market will dictate the value of work done. If businesses operate efficiently, they will grow and hire more people. If they do not, they will join the BLOCKBUSTER as a has been.

    If the cost of paying someone to do the work exceeds the cost of a machine to do the same job, someone will probably be unemployed. As a society we need to provide the opportunity for people who have been displaced to learn new skills. As a person, you had better continually work on job skills that make you more valuable.

  • jskains Orem, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 6:57 a.m.

    It's already fast moving. Amazon's wharehouses are almost completely automated. Little robots zoom around moving palets based on the order they are fulfilling. They are perfecting automatic trucks to move equipment on their own. Japan is working on a system that has a fully automated farm that harvests, processes, ships, cooks, and then delivers food through automated kiosks, with no human involvement. Three are now dark factories where since there are no humans involved, they don't even turn on the lights. Doctors are even threatened as automatic surgery systems are being tested, and automatic scanners can figure out your problems and make a computerized guess on your diagnosis. There is a sports news company that has zero reporters, cause all their stories are automatically processed and written through software. There are even automated CFO softwares being tested. A computer collects company reports and creates budgets, etc. on its own. Obamacare, minimum wage demands, are all killing jobs. The only question in our favor... If everyone is out a job, who's gonna buy their stuff?

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    Dec. 10, 2013 6:39 a.m.

    When the state of Oregon recently raised the minimum wage an enterprising owner of a McDonald's in Hermiston, OR outsourced his order taking at a drive through window to a call center in North Dakota, just to make a point.

    I am an automation engineer. I automate things. There are many processes in industry that will become economically viable to automate as wages increase. An increase in the minimum wage would be good for my profession.

  • Baron Scarpia Logan, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 6:32 a.m.

    Part of the automation movement is that customers increasingly want more control of their service encounters. Now that we have banking online, have our statements delivered online, and literally can do all our banking needs in our pajamas on Sundays is largely because consumers demand it.

    We see this even with grocery stores with all the new "self-serve" lanes where people can check out faster by engaging the registers by themselves.

    The order taker function has long been a job function that was ripe for elimination -- think how many bad service encounters are caused by a human taking the wrong order.

    With regard to food services, I've seen many articles about the desire to literally turn the cash registers around at fast food places, eliminate the food order job function, and have the customer type in his/her order directly -- or with a smart gadget on the way to the restaurant so that the food is waiting when he/she arrives. Starbucks already does this.

    Bottom line? Workers need educations to maintain the technical aspects of increasing automation. That's the future!

    Dec. 10, 2013 6:31 a.m.

    All the people advocating to raise the minimum wage don't understand basic economics. It is impossible to get around the laws of supply and demand. There is plenty of evidence what happens in command economies, where government dictates prices and production. The progressive left believes that with just a little more central planning, this time they will be able to have their utopian dream. They don't want to live in the real world where people look out after their own interests, they want to continue to live in the wonderful fantasy land where every one is rich and equal.

  • DaveRL OGDEN, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 6:12 a.m.

    I travel a great deal in my work, all over the country, so I often eat out a lot. A trend I've noticed all over the nation for some time now, many folks working in the service industry are senior citizens forced back to work because the market crash of early 2000's saw their life savings vanish and college graduates unable to find work because so many lost jobs to out-sourcing. The service industry is no longer confounded to low skill- low education people. Most of what is happening now has been in the works for sometime. As large corporations look to increase profits people working for them become mere stepping stones on the path of the greedy.

  • anti-liar Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 3:30 a.m.

    A lot of guts, these restaurateurs have. Already they only are paying their servers, what, two bucks and hour or so? (After all, they successfully have conned society into believing that most of the restaurateur's labor costs should be passed on to the diner ON TOP OF that diner's food tab, in the form of tips.) But even that two bucks is too much to pay. And so now they effectively are engaging in this new line of fear mongering, telling them, basically, "Suck it up. Be grateful for the two, three bucks an hour we pay you. Or we will replace you with robots."

    Fine. Bring on the robots.

    What an ugly aspect of human nature, Greed is.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 1:44 a.m.

    Well of course, as their huge rate of surplus value is threatened by a higher minimum wage, outfits like McDonalds will try to protect themselves through automation. They may succeed. This is why labor needs socialism. It's coming. Count on it.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    Dec. 10, 2013 12:22 a.m.

    "I do not see automation really taking off in restaurants or in other heavy customer service industries..."

    It already has, in a way. Go to Chuch-A-Rama were service is cafestyle. Waiters bring a drink (if wanted), keep your soiled plates removed, that's it. And the place is always crowded.

    My dad told me decades ago he ate at a NYC automat. You put your coin(s) in a slot to get a sandwich or pie or whatever from behind the glass door.

    "First of all there is still a large section of the population who will simply not embrace this type of automation."

    It ain't the elderly. They gobble up ipads and the like.

    @Kings Court:
    "I will not leave a tip at a table where I do the ordering myself on a dirty, germ ridden tablet."

    Dirty, germ ridden tablets don't need tips.

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 11:52 p.m.

    You can live on minimum wage with roommates or family; however, having babies outside of wedlock is the main problem for poverty. So is lack of hope and vision, and addiction and ignorance.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    Dec. 9, 2013 11:42 p.m.

    I used my credit card to pay for a dinner in California. I got the card back but shortly after I was contacted by my credit card company indicating there were some suspicious purchases. Sure enough, someone had taken my number and used it. I don't know how they did it but I won't give my credit card to a server anymore. Too bad a few dishonest people can ruin a good thing for a lot of good people. Disgruntled workers are going to make it more difficult for high school kids and college students who need the work and are willing to work for lower pay. While going to college I bagged groceries, swept floors, pumped gas, shoveled manure, etc. at low pay. These jobs are not intended to be full-time careers.

  • A1994 Centerville, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 11:26 p.m.

    To strike for a 'fair paying' server job just seems to be aiming low. It used to be that teenagers and young adults took server jobs to get a little spending money. Why would we expect McDonalds to start paying a 'living wage' for a job that was never designed to be a destination?

    Safe and clean working conditions? Yes. Demands that the owner of a fast food chain start paying a higher wage? Not so much. It was never meant to be that kind of job. It's a starter position. We all had to do it.

  • LifeLibertyHappiness Draper, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 11:13 p.m.


    I have worked since I was 10 years old - mowing lawns, paper routes, bus boy, dishwasher, cook, delivery, gas station, janitorial. Graduated from college and started doing, for me, more interesting things like working in finance, operations, sales, marketing.

    Never once have I felt exploited. Is it exploiting people to post a job, hire them, agree on a wage and then expect that person to perform a job? No. The only time I ever felt exploited was the summer I worked for the electrical union. Didn't picket or protest. Just resolved I'd never work for another union and changed course.

    People need to get rid of the entitlement mentality and stop feeling like victims. This is America. If you don't like your situation, go change it.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 10:47 p.m.

    It is perfectly fine and right for people to be motivated to get into business to make money. But what of the people who work for business? Is exploiting them the only real option we can support so as to be in favour of the business owners? How is that moral and right? Have we lost sight of the fact that those that work for business are supposed to be the customers of that business?

  • San Diego Orem, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 10:39 p.m.

    To Springstreet, Maudine
    Goldberg is not the president of Applebee's. He is a columnist who made the comment that people go into business to make a profit, not create jobs. Applebee's president/owner said no such thing.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Dec. 9, 2013 10:35 p.m.

    This whole problem begins in school.

    Many students receive grades, and awards they didn't work for. Teachers water down the grading to avoid a bad evaluation.

    Students grow up wanting pay they don't have to work for. Fast food jobs can be learned in a day, and doesn't require much skill, yet the workers want to be paid the same as a skilled worker.

    Where's the ambition to work hard?

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Dec. 9, 2013 10:26 p.m.

    How terrible of people going into business to make money.

    Lets all migrate to North Korea, or Cuba.

    @Maudine--Wealthy Obama should start hamburger restaurants to make more money once he's out of office. I'd still buy an Obamaburger, but I may not have the money to do it.

    Is it a sin to earn money?

  • Commodore West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 10:08 p.m.

    "So are robots a long-term threat to human labor, or an asset to human life?"

    Automation is a tremendous asset to factory owners and capitalists. Machines do not demand sick days, holidays, medical care, pay, or pay increases; they only demand minimal care and electricity. Are machines a long term threat to labor? Absolutely and one of the largest threats to labor ever!

    If the automation is not mutually owned by the masses of laborers, but remain in the hands of very few capitalists it is a huge menace! Automation provides yet another tool for the 1% to threaten labor and demand that accept take subpar wages and benefits.

    As automation becomes more and more persuasive it threatens to completely replace the working class. What will societies do with these surplus laborers? Societies will pacify them with free/cheap bread and circus or they will manufacture global conflicts and wars as a means to eliminate them.

    Automation owned in the hands of very few is a deadly seed for the gradual destruction of economic prosperity for the many.

  • Floyd Johnson Broken Arrow, OK
    Dec. 9, 2013 9:31 p.m.

    I have enjoyed a couple of meals at a unique restaurant at the Hallmark Center mall in Kansas City. The restaurant has a train theme, but the real draw is the automated food delivery system that runs on a system of rails along the ceiling and down the walls. The concept originated during WWII when labor was unavailable. The system is interesting, fun and the kids love it. Combining that system with a tablet ordering system would probably reduce labor costs by about 1/3.

    Some are suggesting that they would not visit an automated restaurant. I say run the experiment and let's see. "You can sit in our new tip free automated section, or you can enjoy our traditional service." As a small business owner I use the night drop to avoid waiting on a teller daily. I happily use the wide open self check-outs at the grocery store rather than wait in line for the worn out cashier. Our local gas station has a full service pump, I have never seen anyone pay the higher rate.

  • DEW Sandy, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 8:43 p.m.

    Who should I vote on next election? The Robot?

  • MC Squared Plano, TX
    Dec. 9, 2013 6:43 p.m.

    Sorry gang.....Many of the restaurants down here are moving exactly as this article reports. Select your entrees, etc....Wait staff brings our meal, follows up on drinks or other needs and my check is 20% cheaper.....Wave of the future

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 6:39 p.m.


    You apartently missed the quote in the article by the Applebee's owner talking about why people start a business.

  • Kings Court Alpine, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 6:01 p.m.

    I won't use the automatic check-out machine stores at restaurants because it costs jobs. I will not leave a tip at a table where I do the ordering myself on a dirty, germ ridden tablet. If restaurants are going to look at cost-costing, so are the customers. If everyone refused to pay tips, restaurants would be forced to pay more than $2 an hour to get any servers to work for them and unless they can build a Cylon to deliver food,
    they are still going to have to get servers.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Dec. 9, 2013 5:27 p.m.

    How many poor people has the wealthy Obama personally helped get on their feet?

    Would be nice if he opened a few hamburger restaurants, and provide some jobs, rather than spending hundreds of millions of our money for vacations, and campaign trips.

    I'd buy an Obamaburger.

  • spring street SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 5:09 p.m.

    "People don’t go into business to create jobs; they go into business to make money. Labor is a cost," Applebee's President Goldberg wrote.

    Wait, then why do we keep hearing how we need to worship the rich because they "create jobs?"

  • germanygator Apo, AE
    Dec. 9, 2013 5:01 p.m.

    Tablets at Applebee's? No thanks. I don't work for the restaurants. If I can't talk to a person at a business that I'm about to give my hard-earned money to, then that business doesn't need it. If I go out, it's because I want down time. I don't want to have to figure out how to operate a tablet in order to describe a special meal request. That's work--unpaid work. Is Applebee's going to give me a 20% discount on being my own host? I don't think so. Hey Applebee's--want to make a profit? How about doing something with that lousy menu? You know--innovate!!

  • Why would I? Farmington, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 4:52 p.m.

    Why would I be surprised to find that the workers killed the goose that laid the golden egg?

    That said, I order ala-cart and get a meal for less money with exactly what I want to eat. Then I pay the regular amount and give the wait staff the difference so they get a bigger tip. Sometimes the tip almost equals the price of the food. It makes them smile and after a couple visits they recognize me and I get excellent service. Let someone else keep the lights on, I'm taking care of those who actually help me. If more folks did that, the staff would earn more money and the restaurant wouldn't have to fire anyone or jack their prices through the roof. (They'd probably not let you order that way any more.) Ala-cart has smaller portions, which is better anyway.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 4:38 p.m.

    I do not see automation really taking off in restaurants or in other heavy customer service industries for a couple of reasons.

    First of all there is still a large section of the population who will simply not embrace this type of automation. I was behind an older lady that could not figure out Comcast's intake system for handling customers into their store. She was visibly getting upset and I had to show her how to navigate the ipad so she could be sent to the correct help desk.

    I have also noticed that Mcdonalds serves a lot of older people for breakfast. Will they embrace automation or simply go somewhere else?

    Finally technology is really about convenience and making life easier. Automation might make life easier for the restaurant owner but would the automation really be a convenience for customers?

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 4:22 p.m.

    If we don’t destroy ourselves first, it is likely that someday there will be no need for human labor, mental or physical. If you are a religious person who believes in God, it will be called Heaven. If you are not religious about God, the prospects are a little bit iffier but will still come to be.

    All my life I have wished that I could see the entrée before ordering. I would like to build my own entrée in the computer before it is actually made. And if my home computer/TV/food synthesizer/3Dprinter is working well, there may not need to be restaurants.

    But for now, the requirement of recycling the blood of our economy must occur if we are to survive. Business will have to support all our people either by wages, dividends or TAXES.