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Raising the Minimum Wage for Working Men and Women in California and the Rest of America

$15 Wage in Fast Food Stirs Debate on Effects

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As fast-food workers plan yet another round of one-day strikes on Thursday in cities around the country, labor leaders, economists and industry officials continue to debate the potential effects of raising wages at companies that often assert that such increases would raise consumer prices and shrink the work force.

Organizers of the fast-food workers’ nascent movement are clamoring for a $15 an hour wage, which would mean a 67 percent pay increase in an industry where wages average around $9 an hour.

Restaurant industry officials have balked at so high a wage, saying it would sharply raise fast-food prices and reduce employment, in part by fueling automation of some jobs. They call the demand of $15 an hour a nonstarter as far as initiating negotiations.

“When you start by insisting on $15 an hour, that’s not conducive to substantive dialogue,” said Scott DeFife, an executive vice president with the National Restaurant Association.

• Category: National, Notable • Tags: Fast-Food, Steven Greenhouse