SeaTac, Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

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SeaTac, Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby sardia » Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:42 am UTC

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/27/us/vo ... ef=us&_r=0
I'm not sure if this will keep, but I'm surprised how high they put it. Now, are we going to expect mass unemployment or something the business class always warns about?

Edit: Fixed City.
Last edited by sardia on Wed Nov 27, 2013 2:49 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby Thesh » Wed Nov 27, 2013 4:58 am UTC

I predict that there will be some positive effects and some negative effects, but nothing too significant, although people arguing against it will see only the negative effects, and see it as proof that everything is horrible, and people arguing for it will see only the positive effects, and see it as proof of everything being perfect.
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Re: Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby Derek » Wed Nov 27, 2013 6:18 am UTC

The thread title is misleading, this only applies to the city of SeaTac.

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Re: Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Nov 27, 2013 6:30 am UTC

Any chance New York City could enact reasonable minimum wage laws? Normally I'm somewhat Libertarian and vehemently opposed to price controls, but there comes a point where the abuse is too much. I won't support a minimum wage that you 'can raise a family of 4 on', but I want to be reasonably certain that the guys flipping burgers are able to afford a "cozy" apartment with a shower. Because, you know, I want the guys handling my food to have access to basic hygiene.

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Re: Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby BlackSails » Wed Nov 27, 2013 8:43 am UTC

fwiw, medical residents make about $12 an hour, if you ignore things they have to do outside of the hospital (such as studying and working on papers/presentations)

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Re: Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby sardia » Wed Nov 27, 2013 2:52 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Any chance New York City could enact reasonable minimum wage laws? Normally I'm somewhat Libertarian and vehemently opposed to price controls, but there comes a point where the abuse is too much. I won't support a minimum wage that you 'can raise a family of 4 on', but I want to be reasonably certain that the guys flipping burgers are able to afford a "cozy" apartment with a shower. Because, you know, I want the guys handling my food to have access to basic hygiene.

Passing a law for a city of sub 100,000 vs a city of 8 million people is a bit different. Though it should have less impact since cities have a higher cost of living.

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Re: Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby cphite » Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:25 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:I predict that there will be some positive effects and some negative effects, but nothing too significant, although people arguing against it will see only the negative effects, and see it as proof that everything is horrible, and people arguing for it will see only the positive effects, and see it as proof of everything being perfect.


The problem is that the businesses most affected like this are businesses that provide cheap products; fast food, small independent retail, local services, etc. This is a fairly significant cost increase, so most of these places will be forced to increase prices to compensate. What happens next depends on their customer base.

For example, if you're running a McDonald's near an office district, and you have a lot of customers who are office workers, you might be fine; those folks tend to have a short time available for lunch; they're eating at your store because it's convenient, and they're going to pay the additional cost rather than travel further away. If, on the other hand, you're running a McDonald's in a residential area, and your customers are eating at your store specifically because it's cheaper, they might be willing to drive the couple of miles to the McDonald's that sits outside the SeaTac city limits if it's cheaper.

These effects are actually amplified by the fact that it's happening in a small city. If you do this in New York City, for example, it's a lot less likely that folks are going to travel to get cheaper Big Macs - New York City is huge. But when you do this in a place that's only 10 square miles, and that cheaper Big Mac is a five minute car drive away, it's more likely to be a factor.

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Re: Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby Adam H » Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:29 pm UTC

BlackSails wrote:fwiw, medical residents make about $12 an hour, if you ignore things they have to do outside of the hospital (such as studying and working on papers/presentations)
And I'm not sure it makes much sense to ignore those things because I can't think of an hourly-paid job that requires the workers to do stuff outside of the time they get paid.
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Re: Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby Zamfir » Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:57 pm UTC

cphite wrote:
These effects are actually amplified by the fact that it's happening in a small city. If you do this in New York City for example, it's a lot less likely that folks are going to travel to get cheaper Big Macs - New York City is huge. But when you do this in a place that's only 10 square miles, and that cheaper Big Mac is a five minute car drive away, it's more likely to be a factor.

It's not really a small city, it's some neighbourhoods surrounding the airport. That's surely no accident, especially if you look at the exception for small businesses. The larger businesses are located there to be close or on the airport, they won't move from that just because the janitors are now expensive. And the state is not going to move its major airport anytime soon.

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Re: Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby davidstarlingm » Wed Nov 27, 2013 4:11 pm UTC

Adam H wrote:
BlackSails wrote:fwiw, medical residents make about $12 an hour, if you ignore things they have to do outside of the hospital (such as studying and working on papers/presentations)
And I'm not sure it makes much sense to ignore those things because I can't think of an hourly-paid job that requires the workers to do stuff outside of the time they get paid.

I suppose that waiting tables is loosely analogous. Unless the economy is great and the restaurant is packed and tables flip quickly, your actual wage-earning time may only be a fraction of the time you spend "at work".

Even if you work six nights a week and show up at 4 pm every day, they don't necessarily put you on the clock until it's busy enough. Then they cut you from the floor as soon as they can and push you through your sidework. So you may only end up clocking 5-6 hours (and actually earning tips for less than 4) despite being "at work" from 4 to midnight every night. You might even be cut after only being on the clock for 2-3 hours if it's slow, but that doesn't do you any good because you can't very well go work somewhere else at 7:30 PM -- those wage-earning hours are simply lost. And you have to break six hours on the clock before a break is legally required, so you're working straight through.

You might do really well some nights (making $30-40/hr during actual tip-earning hours), but this only serves to offset the nights you don't do so well. The restaurant only has to pay you $2.13/hr (and this, historically, has not risen in relation to minimum wage). Of course, they have to make sure your (tips + hourly pay) / (total hours worked) adds up to at least minimum wage (and make up the difference if it doesn't), but this is done on a weekly basis, not a daily one; those two nights where you cleared $150+ means the restaurant doesn't have to pay to cover minimum wage on the other four.

In the end, you're effectively working 45 hour weeks without shift breaks, but you're only clocking 30 hours. Lots of these places will set 32-35 hours as the minimum for benefits and so forth (besides having to work 18 months before you can claim benefits), so you're SOL on that count too. Making "bank" with good tables on a couple of nights doesn't help the fact that you're committed to what is basically a fifty hour week (since you have to show up at a certain time and you stay as long as they need you) but are getting paid minimum wage on 30 hours.

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Re: SeaTac, Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby sardia » Wed Nov 27, 2013 4:15 pm UTC

Typically, minimum wage laws don't apply to jobs that have tipping, aka waiters. I know that IL made it somewhat related, waiters earn 1/2 of whatever the mimimum wage is.

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Re: Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby Adam H » Wed Nov 27, 2013 4:33 pm UTC

davidstarlingm wrote:In the end, you're effectively working 45 hour weeks without shift breaks, but you're only clocking 30 hours. Lots of these places will set 32-35 hours as the minimum for benefits and so forth (besides having to work 18 months before you can claim benefits), so you're SOL on that count too. Making "bank" with good tables on a couple of nights doesn't help the fact that you're committed to what is basically a fifty hour week (since you have to show up at a certain time and you stay as long as they need you) but are getting paid minimum wage on 30 hours.
My sympathies go out to anyone averaging less than $15 hour as a server and getting overworked on top of that. I was a part-time server for a few different restaurants in high school and college and the money was always really good. If the pay sucked and I had to work more than about 20 hours a week, it would have been pretty much the worst job I can imagine...

But anyways, my point still stands - if you're going to compare the pay of a medical resident, a fast-food employee, and a server (for example), then I would say the best way to do that is to include every hour that they work even if they aren't on-the-clock.

But anyways, medical residency is basically an extension of med school so I'm not saying it's necessarily wrong for them to pay less than minimum wage. They might even call it a stipend instead of a salary. (I think it makes sense for them to get paid more because residents do a ton of important work and if you can encourage the best med students to come to your residency program by offering more money than everone else, why wouldn't you???)

This seems like it's off topic but it makes me think of a theoretical downside to raising minimum wage. It makes the best companies unable to pay significantly more than the worst companies, which means the best companies hire worse employees making their products worse. Let me reiterate that's very theoretical and I just thought of it and haven't thought it through and why am I about to submit this I don't even know
-Adam

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Re: Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby leady » Wed Nov 27, 2013 4:43 pm UTC

Adam H wrote:This seems like it's off topic but it makes me think of a theoretical downside to raising minimum wage. It makes the best companies unable to pay significantly more than the worst companies, which means the best companies hire worse employees making their products worse. Let me reiterate that's very theoretical and I just thought of it and haven't thought it through and why am I about to submit this I don't even know


Yeah that doesn't work at all :)

One of the stronger arguments against min wage is that it generates artificial automation, i.e. you get burger flipping machines that replace your newly expensive employees, but I can't follow a path of it stopping a better company pay more. In fact logically it would be the opposite, because it will render more inefficient companies more inefficient.

Unless you are saying a good company used to pay $12 a hour to get better employees and with the raise in min wage their recruiting advantage is gone and good workers get intermingled with bad. Thats more an individual impact on the worker (the old if everyone earn $12 hour regardless I'm not going to run faster than the average type argument)

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Re: Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby Adam H » Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:02 pm UTC

leady wrote:Unless you are saying a good company used to pay $12 a hour to get better employees and with the raise in min wage their recruiting advantage is gone and good workers get intermingled with bad.

Yeah that's what I was trying to say.
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Re: Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby sardia » Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:19 pm UTC

Adam H wrote:
leady wrote:Unless you are saying a good company used to pay $12 a hour to get better employees and with the raise in min wage their recruiting advantage is gone and good workers get intermingled with bad.

Yeah that's what I was trying to say.

Most minimum wage increases are just social safety net in disguise. It's not very optimal, and it has valid criticism via economics, but it's much easier to pass then, gasps, safety net spending. It's also does not require additional budgeting and/or taxes/cuts so you don't need to fight other departments for money. Or ask the public to raise taxes. Sigh, the cognitive dissonace that occurs so we don't raise taxes or spend money on poor people is aggravating.

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Re: SeaTac, Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby Adam H » Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:30 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Most minimum wage increases are just social safety net in disguise. It's not very optimal, and it has valid criticism via economics, but it's much easier to pass then, gasps, safety net spending
Sigh... I can't figure out what the word filter turns into "safety net".
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Re: SeaTac, Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby davidstarlingm » Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:44 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Typically, minimum wage laws don't apply to jobs that have tipping, aka waiters. I know that IL made it somewhat related, waiters earn 1/2 of whatever the mimimum wage is.

That's just the thing: minimim wage laws do apply to tipped positions. Servers report their tips, and the restaurant divides their weekly tip income by the number of hours worked. If this value is lower than minimum wage, the restaurant has to pay them extra to make up the difference.

This is why restaurants won't let you clock in until the last minute and will cut you as soon as they possibly can, because having you on the clock usually costs them money.

But the worst thing, honestly, is the issue of variable hours. When you're a server, you have to be available for a full shift every day you're on the schedule, but you aren't guaranteed a full shift every day. It's like having a regular 8-5 job, but where your boss can say "We don't feel like paying you today; go home" any time he wants. Getting to go home early is nice if you're worn out. But whether or not you earn money is completely up to your boss.

One fairly common-sense argument I've always heard against minimum wage hikes is that they increase the psychological gap between lower-paid employees and higher-paid employees. If your business employs skilled labor at $25-30/hr and unskilled labor at $8-10/hr, raising the minimum wage to 9 dollars means that all variation in the lower-paid bracket is decreased. Less of a gradient on the way up to skilled labor means that you can simply classify all the unskilled labor as a drone workforce, which is much more expendable.

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Re: Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Nov 27, 2013 6:37 pm UTC

sardia wrote:
Adam H wrote:
leady wrote:Unless you are saying a good company used to pay $12 a hour to get better employees and with the raise in min wage their recruiting advantage is gone and good workers get intermingled with bad.

Yeah that's what I was trying to say.

Most minimum wage increases are just social safety net in disguise. It's not very optimal, and it has valid criticism via economics, but it's much easier to pass then, gasps, safety net spending. It's also does not require additional budgeting and/or taxes/cuts so you don't need to fight other departments for money. Or ask the public to raise taxes. Sigh, the cognitive dissonace that occurs so we don't raise taxes or spend money on poor people is aggravating.



Negative Income Tax, baby!

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Re: Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby Belial » Wed Nov 27, 2013 6:56 pm UTC

cphite wrote:The problem is that the businesses most affected like this are businesses that provide cheap products; fast food, small independent retail, local services, etc. This is a fairly significant cost increase, so most of these places will be forced to increase prices to compensate. What happens next depends on their customer base.


While I see your point with small retail and local services (though I suspect they'll adapt, just like they did last time), saying that fast food will be "forced" to increase prices is...inaccurate. The profit margin on fast food is crazy high. Paying all their labor more isn't going to put them in the red. It's likely not going to even put much of a dent. If they choose to raise prices rather than absorbing the expense, that's their call. And it's very possible they'll do so because people will accept the minimum wage increase as an excuse (and possibly because they want to foil such wage increases in other places. "Oh look now big macs cost 30 dollars each, see what a bad idea this was?! Better not pass those laws..."). But the situation is certainly not going to twist their arms.
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Re: Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby davidstarlingm » Wed Nov 27, 2013 7:34 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
cphite wrote:The problem is that the businesses most affected like this are businesses that provide cheap products; fast food, small independent retail, local services, etc. This is a fairly significant cost increase, so most of these places will be forced to increase prices to compensate. What happens next depends on their customer base.


While I see your point with small retail and local services (though I suspect they'll adapt, just like they did last time), saying that fast food will be "forced" to increase prices is...inaccurate. The profit margin on fast food is crazy high. Paying all their labor more isn't going to put them in the red. It's likely not going to even put much of a dent. If they choose to raise prices rather than absorbing the expense, that's their call. And it's very possible they'll do so because people will accept the minimum wage increase as an excuse (and possibly because they want to foil such wage increases in other places. "Oh look now big macs cost 30 dollars each, see what a bad idea this was?! Better not pass those laws..."). But the situation is certainly not going to twist their arms.

Not all fast food is created equal. Some are franchises, some are corporately owned and managed, some are corporately owned but operated by local business.

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Re: SeaTac, Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby Chen » Wed Nov 27, 2013 7:46 pm UTC

Places like McDonalds probably won't raise prices. They're already hurting to keep their dollar menus cheap enough. What they'll most likely do to reduce cost is just get rid of some workers. Perhaps they'll try to automate some more things, or they'll just make sure those who are not the most productive get fired. Clearly this won't cover everything (if they double the wages, its not like they're going to halve their workforce), but cutting some here and there to make the expense more palatable seems fairly likely IMO.

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Re: SeaTac, Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Nov 27, 2013 8:33 pm UTC

sardia wrote:http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/27/us/voters-in-seatac-wash-back-15-minimum-wage.html?ref=us&_r=0
I'm not sure if this will keep, but I'm surprised how high they put it. Now, are we going to expect mass unemployment or something the business class always warns about?

Edit: Fixed City.


Don't know the local economy there well enough to say. If most people are already making well above that, the effect will be minimal. Some jobs below that threshold will be lost, some will have hours reduced. That's just the way it always goes...but if there are not many jobs in that bracket, well, meh.

I would assume as that it's an urban area with a fair degree of tech industry, it's probably got a fairly high wage/cost of living, so $15/hr there probably isn't that big a deal.

If this starts a trend, though, I'm investing in fast food process automation.

Belial wrote:
cphite wrote:The problem is that the businesses most affected like this are businesses that provide cheap products; fast food, small independent retail, local services, etc. This is a fairly significant cost increase, so most of these places will be forced to increase prices to compensate. What happens next depends on their customer base.


While I see your point with small retail and local services (though I suspect they'll adapt, just like they did last time), saying that fast food will be "forced" to increase prices is...inaccurate. The profit margin on fast food is crazy high. Paying all their labor more isn't going to put them in the red. It's likely not going to even put much of a dent. If they choose to raise prices rather than absorbing the expense, that's their call. And it's very possible they'll do so because people will accept the minimum wage increase as an excuse (and possibly because they want to foil such wage increases in other places. "Oh look now big macs cost 30 dollars each, see what a bad idea this was?! Better not pass those laws..."). But the situation is certainly not going to twist their arms.


Profit margins for privately held fast food joints hover between 2 and 4 percent. Wages are generally a significant portion of costs, so if there is a large change in wages, there's going to be a heavy impact somewhere. I think it's likely that the owners will not be particularly happy about just eating the increase, but will instead seek to pass costs on if possible. If it is not possible, and keeping the place open means no profit, then, yeah, they're not gonna keep 'em open.

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Re: SeaTac, Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Nov 27, 2013 9:02 pm UTC

Chen wrote:Places like McDonalds probably won't raise prices. They're already hurting to keep their dollar menus cheap enough. What they'll most likely do to reduce cost is just get rid of some workers. Perhaps they'll try to automate some more things, or they'll just make sure those who are not the most productive get fired. Clearly this won't cover everything (if they double the wages, its not like they're going to halve their workforce), but cutting some here and there to make the expense more palatable seems fairly likely IMO.


1) Automation is a real possibility, but they were kind of planning that anyway. It's kind of inevitable; assuming this bad boy costs less than two minimum wages to operate every single hour of the day (plus the huge amount of taxes on said wages, value of reliable employees, lack of theft, etc), it's already idiotic not to automate the shitjobs.

2) If McDonald's could get rid of any unproductive workers, they already would've. Ultimately, they will have to cut back on the food, raise prices, or close down unproductive stores. There's no way around it.

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Re: SeaTac, Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Nov 27, 2013 9:09 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
Chen wrote:Places like McDonalds probably won't raise prices. They're already hurting to keep their dollar menus cheap enough. What they'll most likely do to reduce cost is just get rid of some workers. Perhaps they'll try to automate some more things, or they'll just make sure those who are not the most productive get fired. Clearly this won't cover everything (if they double the wages, its not like they're going to halve their workforce), but cutting some here and there to make the expense more palatable seems fairly likely IMO.


1) Automation is a real possibility, but they were kind of planning that anyway. It's kind of inevitable; assuming this bad boy costs less than two minimum wages to operate every single hour of the day (plus the huge amount of taxes on said wages, value of reliable employees, lack of theft, etc), it's already idiotic not to automate the shitjobs.

2) If McDonald's could get rid of any unproductive workers, they already would've. Ultimately, they will have to cut back on the food, raise prices, or close down unproductive stores. There's no way around it.


Well, automation becomes more attractive the more $/hr in workers it replaces. So, something that isn't profitable at $7.50 an hour might be at $15. This is going to be mostly determined by existing numbers, cost of automation and maint, etc. A *lot* of automation already exists in fast food, honestly. We just don't see most of it because it doesn't manifest as full-on robots, but rather as a bunch of tools integrated into speeding delivery of the order. For instance, orders were written on paper tickets once upon a time, but now that's all computerized save for the person who talks to you over the terrible speaker. Automating the entry system in a convenient fashion would be another large step forward. It might not eliminate a job, but it'd remove half the job from the person who normally runs the till, and automating the payment portion really isn't that hard.

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Re: SeaTac, Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby Belial » Wed Nov 27, 2013 9:14 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Profit margins for privately held fast food joints hover between 2 and 4 percent. Wages are generally a significant portion of costs, so if there is a large change in wages, there's going to be a heavy impact somewhere. I think it's likely that the owners will not be particularly happy about just eating the increase, but will instead seek to pass costs on if possible. If it is not possible, and keeping the place open means no profit, then, yeah, they're not gonna keep 'em open.


I'm looking at the corporate profit margins, which are between 20 and 30 percent (for mcdonalds at the very least). If privately held franchises start closing, I would just expect corporate stores to open. It is extremely unlikely that the fast food industry is just going to ignore a coverage area.
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Re: SeaTac, Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Nov 27, 2013 9:17 pm UTC

What I don't understand is why there isn't more automation already. Like, how hard could it be to an automated till, that someone can just punch in their order and swipe their card? Maybe a Burger King app for your phone where you can punch in your order from anywhere, and pick it up when you arrive, skipping the wait in line?

Belial wrote:I'm looking at the corporate profit margins, which are between 20 and 30 percent (for mcdonalds at the very least). If privately held franchises start closing, I would just expect corporate stores to open. It is extremely unlikely that the fast food industry is just going to ignore a coverage area.


The entire reason for franchising as opposed to direct ownership is liability. A boiling grease accident occurs, injured parties win $50m from a franchise, the franchise pays out $1m before going into bankruptcy. If it's corporate, said accident occurs and the entire corporation has to fork over the $50m.
Last edited by CorruptUser on Wed Nov 27, 2013 9:20 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: SeaTac, Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby davidstarlingm » Wed Nov 27, 2013 9:20 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Profit margins for privately held fast food joints hover between 2 and 4 percent. Wages are generally a significant portion of costs, so if there is a large change in wages, there's going to be a heavy impact somewhere. I think it's likely that the owners will not be particularly happy about just eating the increase, but will instead seek to pass costs on if possible. If it is not possible, and keeping the place open means no profit, then, yeah, they're not gonna keep 'em open.


I'm looking at the corporate profit margins, which are between 20 and 30 percent (for mcdonalds at the very least). If privately held franchises start closing, I would just expect corporate stores to open. It is extremely unlikely that the fast food industry is just going to ignore a coverage area.

But, chances are, privately-held franchises won't close, because that represents the livelihood for a bunch of people, and corporate is still going to demand the same profit margin.

CorruptUser wrote:What I don't understand is why there isn't more automation already. Like, how hard could it be to an automated till, that someone can just punch in their order and swipe their card? Maybe a Burger King app for your phone where you can punch in your order from anywhere, and pick it up when you arrive, skipping the wait in line?

Well, ideally, the cashier should be doing as much as possible to upsell. A person can do that much more effectively than a machine (at least until we have sufficiently lifelike robots). I don't have studies right in front of me, but I'm guessing it's easier to ignore the "would you like to make that a large" if it pops up on a screen than if it's said to you with a smile. Plus, profit margin in fast food is right there in the name: fast food. A cashier who knows the electronic ordering system well can process orders much more quickly than some technologically-challenged, half-blind old lady ordering for a bevy of grandchildren.

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Re: SeaTac, Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Nov 27, 2013 10:29 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Profit margins for privately held fast food joints hover between 2 and 4 percent. Wages are generally a significant portion of costs, so if there is a large change in wages, there's going to be a heavy impact somewhere. I think it's likely that the owners will not be particularly happy about just eating the increase, but will instead seek to pass costs on if possible. If it is not possible, and keeping the place open means no profit, then, yeah, they're not gonna keep 'em open.


I'm looking at the corporate profit margins, which are between 20 and 30 percent (for mcdonalds at the very least). If privately held franchises start closing, I would just expect corporate stores to open. It is extremely unlikely that the fast food industry is just going to ignore a coverage area.


Corporate profit margins do not accurately, directly, reflect the profitability of corporate stores, because of the nature of how franchises work. For instance, McDonalds is about 80% privately held, 20% corporately held. Corporate profits are largely from franchise payments from those other stores.

Even so, McDonalds all time high was what, 22%? And they're at the top of the food chain? 30% is not a thing. Fast food corporate profits hover at around the 20% mark.

But...corporate profits don't matter to the guy who actually owns the store, and thus, pays the wages. If he stops making money, he isn't going to be satisfied with the knowledge that the McDonalds CEO is going great. He's going to take some action to regain those profits, be it raising prices, cutting hours, or changing businesses entirely.

davidstarlingm wrote:Well, ideally, the cashier should be doing as much as possible to upsell. A person can do that much more effectively than a machine (at least until we have sufficiently lifelike robots). I don't have studies right in front of me, but I'm guessing it's easier to ignore the "would you like to make that a large" if it pops up on a screen than if it's said to you with a smile. Plus, profit margin in fast food is right there in the name: fast food. A cashier who knows the electronic ordering system well can process orders much more quickly than some technologically-challenged, half-blind old lady ordering for a bevy of grandchildren.


*shrug* I believe Amazon's upselling method of "customers who bought x also bought y" is reasonably effective. I don't think upselling is inherently a person thing, even at our current tech level. In fact, I'd wager that the mandated rambling of additional offerings is found annoying by many customers.

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Re: SeaTac, Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby davidstarlingm » Wed Nov 27, 2013 10:34 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
davidstarlingm wrote:Well, ideally, the cashier should be doing as much as possible to upsell. A person can do that much more effectively than a machine (at least until we have sufficiently lifelike robots). I don't have studies right in front of me, but I'm guessing it's easier to ignore the "would you like to make that a large" if it pops up on a screen than if it's said to you with a smile. Plus, profit margin in fast food is right there in the name: fast food. A cashier who knows the electronic ordering system well can process orders much more quickly than some technologically-challenged, half-blind old lady ordering for a bevy of grandchildren.


*shrug* I believe Amazon's upselling method of "customers who bought x also bought y" is reasonably effective. I don't think upselling is inherently a person thing, even at our current tech level. In fact, I'd wager that the mandated rambling of additional offerings is found annoying by many customers.

If it's done ramblingly. I'm always impressed when fast food cashiers actually engage, make eye contact, discuss things, and make helpful suggestions.

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Re: SeaTac, Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Nov 27, 2013 10:39 pm UTC

Oh, sure. The human who cares can definitely outperform the machine, but if the machine exceeds average, it still makes sense to replace humans with machines. And average customer service in the fast food industry isn't a high bar.

Or, more likely, as an intermediate step, fire the least useful of your workers and run a smaller staff with more machines. 100% automation is probably still a bit off, but there are usually several people working in a fast food place on average. Reducing the workload enough to pull a person from most or all shifts is probably more practical than replacing all of them at once.

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Re: SeaTac, Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Nov 27, 2013 10:42 pm UTC

davidstarlingm wrote:Well, ideally, the cashier should be doing as much as possible to upsell. A person can do that much more effectively than a machine (at least until we have sufficiently lifelike robots). I don't have studies right in front of me, but I'm guessing it's easier to ignore the "would you like to make that a large" if it pops up on a screen than if it's said to you with a smile. Plus, profit margin in fast food is right there in the name: fast food. A cashier who knows the electronic ordering system well can process orders much more quickly than some technologically-challenged, half-blind old lady ordering for a bevy of grandchildren.


The upselling gets what, $10/day extra profit? Peanuts compared to the cost savings from automation, let alone the cost to society due to poorer health.

As for fast food, walk into a McDonald's during lunch rush, and see how long the line takes. If an automatic cashier, even if half speed, is opened up for the people that aren't afraid of technology, that's less people on line. If a person can use a phone app to order prior to arriving or within the joint itself, every person can order at once. That's less time the cashiers stand there taking orders and more time they can spend to replace the fries and flip the burgers.

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Re: SeaTac, Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby davidstarlingm » Wed Nov 27, 2013 10:47 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:The upselling gets what, $10/day extra profit? Peanuts compared to the cost savings from automation, let alone the cost to society due to poorer health.

I think you're underestimating upselling. I worked as a fast food cashier back when I was first starting college....there's a HUGE difference.

CorruptUser wrote:As for fast food, walk into a McDonald's during lunch rush, and see how long the line takes. If an automatic cashier, even if half speed, is opened up for the people that aren't afraid of technology, that's less people on line. If a person can use a phone app to order prior to arriving or within the joint itself, every person can order at once. That's less time the cashiers stand there taking orders and more time they can spend to replace the fries and flip the burgers.

And so people spend hours waiting for their food because there's no automatic regulation of order-taking.

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Re: Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby Alexius » Wed Nov 27, 2013 11:36 pm UTC

Adam H wrote:
BlackSails wrote:fwiw, medical residents make about $12 an hour, if you ignore things they have to do outside of the hospital (such as studying and working on papers/presentations)
And I'm not sure it makes much sense to ignore those things because I can't think of an hourly-paid job that requires the workers to do stuff outside of the time they get paid.

They exist, but they're usually jobs that aren't typically full-time.

Tutoring and small-group teaching is the first example I can think of, because I do it- I teach small groups of undergraduates for my university. The headline pay rate is extremely good- it's more than 5 times the national minimum wage and more than 4 times the living wage. On the other hand, I'm paid per hour I spend teaching the students- time spent marking their work doesn't count, and neither does time spent preparing for the next class.

This doesn't matter so much for me, as I'm only doing it a couple of hours a week for beer money (I live on my stipend as a graduate student). There are people who do this sort of teaching for a living, though.

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Re: SeaTac, Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby addams » Thu Nov 28, 2013 7:20 am UTC

sardia wrote:Typically, minimum wage laws don't apply to jobs that have tipping, aka waiters. I know that IL made it somewhat related, waiters earn 1/2 of whatever the mimimum wage is.

This is horrible!
I don't understand it. I think it is wrong and should be illegal. And; The laws that protect the workers should be enforced.

I did not understand the words, "Right To Work."
They sound like nice words to me. "Right To Work' Very 1960's civil rights ring to those words.

I spoke to a young woman. I was not allowed to speak to her, much.
She was embarrassed and wanted to let the her experiences fade into her past.

She had been released from the Army.
She was told to Go Get A JOB!

fuck. She was in Kansas or some place.
She was attractive and bright. She got a job working as a server.

She said they paid $3.00 per hour. They told her to Make Tips.
How the Hell is an inexperienced girl supposed to Make Tips in a Dive in a poor part of a poor state?

That was a nightmare for her. I will never know what she went through. Neither will you.
Just when I think my nation is as Fucked Up as it can be, It is More Fucked!

SeaTac may be a small place in a large nation, but it is doing a good thing.
If SeaTac can do it others may decide to do it.

I know there will always be people that Protest.
If you let the Low Lifes eat warm food every day, they will not have any reason to work and the entire system will collapse on Sarah Palin.
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Re: SeaTac, Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby Thesh » Thu Nov 28, 2013 6:59 pm UTC

davidstarlingm wrote:
sardia wrote:Typically, minimum wage laws don't apply to jobs that have tipping, aka waiters. I know that IL made it somewhat related, waiters earn 1/2 of whatever the mimimum wage is.

That's just the thing: minimim wage laws do apply to tipped positions. Servers report their tips, and the restaurant divides their weekly tip income by the number of hours worked. If this value is lower than minimum wage, the restaurant has to pay them extra to make up the difference.


This is why a lot of businesses pool tips, and apply them to other positions as well. By spreading the tips around, you can significantly reduce payroll. Every dollar that an employee gets above minimum wage is a dollar you could have given to another employee to increase your profits. You just have to make sure your employees receive at least $30 a month in tips, or you can't call them tipped employees.

Also, it's not half the minimum wage, federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, for tipped employees it's $2.13 an hour (almost 30 percent!), which is technically an insult, not a wage.
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Re: SeaTac, Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby Darryl » Fri Nov 29, 2013 1:34 am UTC

Thesh wrote:
davidstarlingm wrote:
sardia wrote:Typically, minimum wage laws don't apply to jobs that have tipping, aka waiters. I know that IL made it somewhat related, waiters earn 1/2 of whatever the mimimum wage is.

That's just the thing: minimim wage laws do apply to tipped positions. Servers report their tips, and the restaurant divides their weekly tip income by the number of hours worked. If this value is lower than minimum wage, the restaurant has to pay them extra to make up the difference.


This is why a lot of businesses pool tips, and apply them to other positions as well. By spreading the tips around, you can significantly reduce payroll. Every dollar that an employee gets above minimum wage is a dollar you could have given to another employee to increase your profits. You just have to make sure your employees receive at least $30 a month in tips, or you can't call them tipped employees.

Also, it's not half the minimum wage, federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, for tipped employees it's $2.13 an hour (almost 30 percent!), which is technically an insult, not a wage.

The half you are referring to is in reference to Illinois (IL) minimum wage law.
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Re: SeaTac, Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Nov 29, 2013 11:24 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
davidstarlingm wrote:Well, ideally, the cashier should be doing as much as possible to upsell. A person can do that much more effectively than a machine (at least until we have sufficiently lifelike robots). I don't have studies right in front of me, but I'm guessing it's easier to ignore the "would you like to make that a large" if it pops up on a screen than if it's said to you with a smile. Plus, profit margin in fast food is right there in the name: fast food. A cashier who knows the electronic ordering system well can process orders much more quickly than some technologically-challenged, half-blind old lady ordering for a bevy of grandchildren.


The upselling gets what, $10/day extra profit? Peanuts compared to the cost savings from automation, let alone the cost to society due to poorer health.

As for fast food, walk into a McDonald's during lunch rush, and see how long the line takes. If an automatic cashier, even if half speed, is opened up for the people that aren't afraid of technology, that's less people on line. If a person can use a phone app to order prior to arriving or within the joint itself, every person can order at once. That's less time the cashiers stand there taking orders and more time they can spend to replace the fries and flip the burgers.


The phone apps are already a thing, here. Chipotle's online/fax/phone ordering system is pretty wildly popular. I use it myself every week for a shared office order, and it's MUCH less tedious than keeping track of an office-full of people's orders. Less wait, higher(though still imperfect) accuracy, less work for the customer. Pretty good deal. Now sure, in the really busy times, there's still a wait just to get the food, but with less steps to do to process an order, it's still less wait overall.

Thesh wrote:
davidstarlingm wrote:
sardia wrote:Typically, minimum wage laws don't apply to jobs that have tipping, aka waiters. I know that IL made it somewhat related, waiters earn 1/2 of whatever the mimimum wage is.

That's just the thing: minimim wage laws do apply to tipped positions. Servers report their tips, and the restaurant divides their weekly tip income by the number of hours worked. If this value is lower than minimum wage, the restaurant has to pay them extra to make up the difference.


This is why a lot of businesses pool tips, and apply them to other positions as well. By spreading the tips around, you can significantly reduce payroll. Every dollar that an employee gets above minimum wage is a dollar you could have given to another employee to increase your profits. You just have to make sure your employees receive at least $30 a month in tips, or you can't call them tipped employees.

Also, it's not half the minimum wage, federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, for tipped employees it's $2.13 an hour (almost 30 percent!), which is technically an insult, not a wage.


Tips are weird. They don't perform their stated function very well, IMO. Especially when the tips are shared between everyone(recent minor starbucks media snaffle over them sharing tips with managers), they stop really being feedback in terms of individual performance. And of course, tip jar stuff doesn't have a great deal to do with service anyway, because you're usually tipping before you even get your food. At this point, tips are something of a cultural oddity, not really anything like an efficient compensation mechanism.

That said, there is still a small amount of value. If you tip fantastically and go to the same place frequently, it can matter. Plus, sometimes it can be fun to make a server or bartender's night.

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Re: Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby davidstarlingm » Fri Nov 29, 2013 3:18 pm UTC

Alexius wrote:
Adam H wrote:
BlackSails wrote:fwiw, medical residents make about $12 an hour, if you ignore things they have to do outside of the hospital (such as studying and working on papers/presentations)
And I'm not sure it makes much sense to ignore those things because I can't think of an hourly-paid job that requires the workers to do stuff outside of the time they get paid.

They exist, but they're usually jobs that aren't typically full-time.

Tutoring and small-group teaching is the first example I can think of, because I do it- I teach small groups of undergraduates for my university. The headline pay rate is extremely good- it's more than 5 times the national minimum wage and more than 4 times the living wage. On the other hand, I'm paid per hour I spend teaching the students- time spent marking their work doesn't count, and neither does time spent preparing for the next class.

When I did the same job, I was getting paid hourly regardless of whether I had clients, which was nice. It was only minimum wage, of course, but I didn't always have clients. Of course, it kind of sucked to be getting paid exactly the same as the kid who sat and checked out books at the library, when we had to earn a certification for our job and put way more work into it, but w/e.

Thesh wrote:This is why a lot of businesses pool tips, and apply them to other positions as well. By spreading the tips around, you can significantly reduce payroll. Every dollar that an employee gets above minimum wage is a dollar you could have given to another employee to increase your profits. You just have to make sure your employees receive at least $30 a month in tips, or you can't call them tipped employees.

Also, it's not half the minimum wage, federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, for tipped employees it's $2.13 an hour (almost 30 percent!), which is technically an insult, not a wage.

It is indeed. At the places I worked, we pulled our credit card tips out of our cash sales each night, so the "check" we got was just that $2.13/hr. It was almost always completely eaten up by taxes.

In my experience, businesses which pool tips are more in the fast-food-tipped industry, whereas full-service sit-down dinner restaurants are much less likely to do so. Tip-pooling completely defeats the purpose of tipping.

Tyndmyr wrote:The phone apps are already a thing, here. Chipotle's online/fax/phone ordering system is pretty wildly popular. I use it myself every week for a shared office order, and it's MUCH less tedious than keeping track of an office-full of people's orders. Less wait, higher(though still imperfect) accuracy, less work for the customer. Pretty good deal. Now sure, in the really busy times, there's still a wait just to get the food, but with less steps to do to process an order, it's still less wait overall.

That works well for a place like Chipotle; not so much for more traditional fast food.

The advantage of having someone taking orders is that it automatically regulates the rate at which orders come in.

Tyndmyr wrote:Tips are weird. They don't perform their stated function very well, IMO. Especially when the tips are shared between everyone(recent minor starbucks media snaffle over them sharing tips with managers), they stop really being feedback in terms of individual performance. And of course, tip jar stuff doesn't have a great deal to do with service anyway, because you're usually tipping before you even get your food. At this point, tips are something of a cultural oddity, not really anything like an efficient compensation mechanism.

That said, there is still a small amount of value. If you tip fantastically and go to the same place frequently, it can matter. Plus, sometimes it can be fun to make a server or bartender's night.

Yeah, tipping at a pooled-tip place is useless; regular tipping isn't. Nice working relationships can build up thataway.

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Re: SeaTac, Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Nov 29, 2013 4:04 pm UTC

I never put money in the tip jar. I knew someone at a pizza shop, and the manager just takes it.

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Re: SeaTac, Washington State Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Postby davidstarlingm » Fri Nov 29, 2013 4:30 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:I never put money in the tip jar. I knew someone at a pizza shop, and the manager just takes it.

That pizza shop may or may not be representative of every pooled-tip place.

I usually go based on how glad the cashier seems to be when I drop my change in. If they thank me excitedly, I conclude it actually benefits them. If they ignore it, or grunt a canned thank-you, I conclude it doesn't.


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