Skip to comments.Why robots could soon replace fast food workers demanding higher minimum wage
Posted on 07/29/2013 11:03:49 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
If Seattle fast workers demanding a big raise in the minimum wage get their way, they'll soon be replaced by robots says KIRO Radio's John Curley, who points to growing automation as a warning to those who want $15 an hour or more to flip burgers.
A group of local fast food workers recently staged a one-day walkout and are calling on the Seattle City Council to increase the minimum wage from $9.19 per hour - the highest in the country - to $15 an hour.
"We're asking for $15 because in order to support one person in a one bedroom apartment you need to make $14.88. We don't make anywhere near that and we're all on food stamps," 23-year-old Amanda Larson told KIRO Radio's Linda Thomas recently as she worked the counter at a Seattle Arby's.
But restaurant owners argue they simply can't afford it. With technology continuing to allow restaurants around the world to replace people with robots and computers, Curley says look no farther than several examples in Japan and Europe as a sign of what's to come if the Seattle workers get their way.
A noted Japanese sushi-chain has robots making food while customers order on a touch screen. A conveyer belt delivers their food and a computer tracks customer purchases and automates their bill payment at the end.
"There are no managers in this restaurant," Curley says. "The managers are all in a centrally located place that are just simply watching video screens. So they've been able to cut out almost all the help."
Several years ago, McDonald's installed thousands of touch-screen kiosks at stores across Europe, replacing cashiers entirely. The company has reportedly also tried out automated burger flippers to further cut back on employees.
It's not far fetched. A Chinese restaurateur has developed a robotic chef now found in a number of noodle bars, further eliminating the need for humans. With the robot chefs costing just $1,500, they're far cheaper than employees and don't demand raises or breaks.
Curley says the workers here demanding higher wages for a job that should be entry-level should think twice before raising too much of a fuss - before they find themselves completely obsolete.
"The saddest thing for this story, if you follow it, is robots will replace human beings in these McDonald's and fast food restaurants and low skill workers will have really no place to go."
“”We’re asking for $15 because in order to support one person in a one bedroom apartment you need to make $14.88. We don’t make anywhere near that and we’re all on food stamps,” 23-year-old Amanda Larson”
That’s a sad story, Amanda.....now STFU and get my fries before it gets cold.
Robots have taken a lot of manufacturing jobs. I suppose that eventually, it will be a good thing, as they will perform all the drudgery and free up the workforce for better things.
In the meantime, there are lots of displaced, unskilled workers.
The real problem is not the wages, but the barriers that exist that makes it difficult to learn marketable skills.
Our nearby Aldi’s grocery store (opened about 3 months ago) pays $11.50 to $21.50 an hour with benefits and rent around/cost-of-living here is a mere fraction of that in New York City.
Who placed those barriers there? Were these individuals not afforded the same K-12 free education that you and I were offered?
Unionized, I assume. How much are the items for sale there?
No, not union, I don’t believe. Aldi’s is German-owned and the items are inexpensive:
and someone didn’t ping me to this. Same thing I’ve been saying all day.
There are already french fry and burger vending machines. The french fries are dropped in a fryer when you order it and delivered HOT. There are even pizza vending machines.
No reason robots couldn’t replace these useless breathers.
And Aldi’s has fewer workers than a normal grocery store of course.
Que Sera, Sera.
And also note that I include plumbers in highly skilled -- those guys sometimes can earn more than I do -- and they deserve it!
What do THEY do?
welfare is not the way.
artificially higher wages is a form of welfare too
Do you want to go back to the CCC, NRA, New Deal make-work programs? Many of those people could start a small business, sell, farm a small plot of land with high-revenue plants and animals, learn a simple trade (locksmithing, small engine repair, etc.) enroll in Job Corps or go into the military to learn a skill.
The barriers that make it difficult to learn marketable skills, barriers such as laziness and stupidity.
And the prospect of humans becoming blobs like in Wall-E is scary yet possible.
Let's go through these:
1. Start a small business -- you still need some skills and acumen. This can be taught to some extent, but there are still many incapable of even doing this -- in the old days they'd be shop assistants or sweeping the floors or something. Also, keeping a business is to some extent luck
2. farm a small plot of land -- yes, and this is a good option, but we need to cut out a lot of the regulations and also remember that many are not willing to do hard labor (everyone wants an office job) -- that can be changed, but most won't like it!! But I agree that this is the best idea
3. learn a simple trade -- most engines and locks are nowadays pretty high-tech, but this is also a good option
4. enroll into a job corps or go into the military -- good options but we need good people in the military
Your points made me think -- I've always been a proponent of Heinlein's "work to get citizenship" ideal. Perhaps it could be merged with this? namely each person must put in 2 years for society - it can be in the military or community service (doctors can work in the countryside etc.) and let people EARN their vote. This would also give people an appreciation for the dignity of physical labor and also some skills
correct. A minimum wage doesn't help imho
Because nothing says freedom more than being a government slave for some odd number of years.
“Give me a number 5 ... for a robocop.”
If these nutters got their way, we could see these places on every corner, just one person managing a 7-eleven sized store with pizza, burger, chicken and nacho machines. THAT person will likely be paid pretty good.
Gotta keep the ingredients stocked after all.
the laziness can be worked out, but that will take decades of work. It's like the Roman republic. Initially everyone was working hard for the community as a whole then the politicians learnt about giving free bread and circuses to get votes....
What do we do?
First, start unwinding the policies and laws that have driven up the cost of living. The issue is at least partly the zoning laws that allow rich liberals to continue living in their insulated neighborhoods while keeping the poor, poor so they vote demonratic
Second, some of these people may need to move to other locations where the cost of living is lower. This would lower the cost of living in large cities by reducing the pressure on the housing supply. It would also help to break up the ghetto mentality that re-enforces cycles of low income behavior
Third, find a democrat and punch their lights outs. This is their fault. Just because it feels so good
Four, part of the first point would allow some manufacturing jobs to to return. Incentives could be given to companies to build in the US. This would not be an immediate help and would take time
Fifth; break the unions. At least brake the ones that rather than working to better the company and setting realistic wage and working goals insist upon an overtly confrontational us versus them approach. But remove all union pension benefits and place them in a single Federal Agency where they cannot be siphoned off for mob activities or democratic campaign contributions
Just my thoughts
Life was not meant to free of obstacles or challenges but those are not impenetrable barriers.
How to run a crew, how to schedule diverse personalities, how to handle the cash, and how to budget, order, and plan with an aim of making the joint successful and you gain skills that ANYONE can sell.
These folks don't have to be Mensa members, nor do they have to be in the 100+ range of IQ. They first have to have gained these skills, and they have to be willing to show up every workday ready to do the work. Because this is work that needs to be done, whether it's for a fast food joint, or running a phone store, or sell tires, or any of a hundred other jobs that need to get done every single day. And these jobs DO pay more than minimum wage.
Slavery. It is was welfare was designed to do, prepare and create the new slave class. A new slave class with the mentality and capability to do only the meanest and basest of society's chores, existing at the largess of the upper classes of society. A large number of science fiction novels over the last century have explored this historical destination.
Well, at least a robot chef won’t get all disgruntled and spit on your food...
“What do we do with the unemployed then?” Nothing really. With all their free time, they can spend most of it at the local library where there is unlimited free access to all the world's classic books. We can have a huge permanent, but spectacularly well-read unemployed class! We can have book clubs with regular discussion sessions everywhere.
Others can jog and bike and swim regularly. Triathlons will be available to everyone with their new fitness. Triathlons will even have age divisions so everyone can have a meaningful chance of competing for honors.
The people will be so happy and contented. I so look forward to that day soon.
You end up supporting them one way or another...
Loved that book, got a tattered 20yr old copy of it. Also love the concept, but I would include the police and firefighters that also put their lives on the line.
Hey fast food workers at $15 an hour, if you still have a job, you will be absolutely required to get our orders RIGHT.
Why use Robots when you can hire kids and old people? They will work for $3 an hour and food. Maybe do a kick back system. Let them work three hour shifts—Part Time “Training wages” People want to work and will if given a chance. No need to pay $15 dollar wage to some greedy minority who thinks he’s worth it for breating air. Hire illegals—they will work and live in a room with 6 others to make it work.
Amazon has a Seattle grocery warehouse where a fleet of robots actually pull multi-item orders from the shelves and deliver them to the proper loading dock.
Next job in danger?
Warehouse-to-warehouse long haul truckers.
I have a long-standing ongoing argument with a friend about the “living wage”. She just refuses to see that when a person’s minimum pay is set at some level, it prices them out of the market. She just believes (BELIEVES!!!) that the only reason that wages are set at the current level is because the corporations won’t raise them.
Of course, she’s a pastor and her wage is set by TPTB in her denomination rather than the amount of money brought into her congregation.
Part of the problem is that Americans feel these types of jobs are beneath them. So they turn to welfare and/or crime and the illegals gladly take their low-skill jobs.
Starting a small business these days is tantamount to economic suicide. The amount of regulations involved is beyond staggering. Virtually no one who is currently only qualified for burger-flipping is going to navigate their way through that maze.
Farming likewise is fraught with oversight obstacles, as you point out.
Small engines (such as those on lawnmowers, garden tractors, and the like), are still pretty basic. Ditto locks. These are areas that would probably be useful. Learning appliance repair would also be a good route (most appliances these days are so modular that no real skill is required). I suspect this will be a growth market for jobs, as the economy slows further and folks try to squeeze longer lives out of their stuff.
I think its kind of sad. Is it such a bad word? Why is there no radio station with the call letters WORK?
Meanwhile Bill Gates told Congress that degreed engineers wanted too much money to do computer work and that more HB1 visa Indian scabs were need so he could pocket 33 billion because there wasn't enough to pay workers and remain profitable.
Mr. Gate lie to Congress affected the entire industry, not just his little kingdom.
I say let's get more Indians in America flipping burgers. That seems to be the solution to everything.
Those pizza machines are opening up all over town here in Russia. The thought of buying a pizza from one of them is disgusting.
Betcha those robots don’t spit in the food the way Je$$e Jack$$on used to do.
Seriously. I believe even a paraplegic can contribute to the community -- and many of them are truly gifted intellectually and should be given the opportunity to contribute.
Not so sure about that.
The future can be a scary place, Dave.