"I believe that anyone who has a job and works full time, they should be able to pay the things that sustain life: food, shelter and clothing. I can't even do that."
That rather depressing quote is from 61-year old Rebecca Cornick. She’s a grandmother and a 9-year Wendy’s veteran who spoke to CBS News. Rebecca makes $9 an hour and her plight is representative of fast food workers across the country who are campaigning for higher pay.
The fast food worker pay debate is part of a larger discussion as "states and cities across the country [wrestle] with the idea of raising the minimum wage," CBS notes, adding that "right now, 29 states have minimums above the federal $7.25 an hour [and] four cities, including Los Angeles, have doubled their minimum to $15."
Proponents of raising the pay floor argue that it’s simply not possible to live on minimum wage and indeed, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that they’re right. Opponents say forcing employers to pay more will simply mean that companies will fire people or stop hiring and indeed, as we highlighted on Friday, it looks as though WalMart’s move to implement an across-the-board pay raise for its low-paid workers may have contributed to a decision to layoff around 1,000 people at its home office in Bentonville.
"The reality is that most business are not going to pay $15 dollars an hour and keep their doors open," one Burger King franchisee told CBS. "It just won't happen. The economics don't work in this industry. There is a limit to what you're going to pay for a hamburger."
Yes, there’s only so much people will pay for a hamburger which is why Ronald McDonald has made an executive decision to hire more efficient employees at some locations:
With all of that in mind, consider the following from TechRepublic who tells the story of Changying Precision Technology Company, which has replaced almost all of its human employees with robots to great success:
In Dongguan City, located in the central Guangdong province of China, a technology company has set up a factory run almost exclusively by robots, and the results are fascinating.
The Changying Precision Technology Company factory in Dongguan has automated production lines that use robotic arms to produce parts for cell phones.
The factory also has automated machining equipment, autonomous transport trucks, and other automated equipment in the warehouse.
There are still people working at the factory, though. Three workers check and monitor each production line and there are other employees who monitor a computer control system. Previously, there were 650 employees at the factory. With the new robots, there's now only 60. Luo Weiqiang, general manager of the company, told the People's Daily that the number of employees could drop to 20 in the future.
The robots have produced almost three times as many pieces as were produced before. According to the People's Daily, production per person has increased from 8,000 pieces to 21,000 pieces. That's a 162.5% increase.
The increased production rate hasn't come at the cost of quality either. In fact, quality has improved. Before the robots, the product defect rate was 25%, now it is below 5%.
So to anyone planning on picketing the local McDonald’s in an attempt to secure a 70% wage hike, be careful, because this "guy" is ready to work, doesn’t need breaks, and never makes a mistake:
Let’s just hope he doesn’t become self aware.