Look, I’m sorry but no company (not Walmart, McDonalds or Al Harrington’s Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm-Flailing Tube Man Emporium) is compelled to pay workers a “living wage”. That’s a highly subjective term anyway. This DOES NOT mean that I don’t think people deserve a livable wage. If you don’t like that Walmart or whoever pays such shitty wages, don’t shop there, don’t work there. There are NO rules that say a company has to pay its workers anything. Why? Because it would be a slippery slope. If all potential workers told Walmart to take their sub-$8 wages and go fuck themselves, Walmart would have to pay more or die.
When I took my job, I entered into an agreement with the company. I do this for you, you pay me this in return. At any point in time, it’s well within my right to ask to amend that agreement, but under no circumstances is the company compelled to accept the amendments I request. If we can’t work it out, I can either remain with the existing agreement, or walk out the door.
And something else. Companies pay people what the work is worth. Unskilled work isn’t worth much because anyone can and will do it. That’s just how it is. But how come no one ever asks the question: Why are so many people in a position where they have to take that or nothing? That’s a really, really tough question to answer and it cuts deep across our entire culture and economy. You’d better work on answering it though, because it’s the only question that matters.
Look, I’d love it if people were paid more. Everyone wants to be able to support themselves. But a lot of these jobs just can’t do that. The answer is to have more jobs that can. And if there aren’t enough, then we need to decide as a group what that means. Do we really want to consume just for the sake of jobs? Are there too many of us. For christ’s sake, ask the right questions! Forcing companies to pay more is a shitty band aid. It completely misses the target of the real issues here.