Most of us know right off the bat that McDonalds, Burger King and Wendy’s are unhealthy options when it comes to eating. Counter arguments may exist that revolve around concepts like ‘everything in moderation’ or claims that ‘they do sell salads as well you know’ - but, let’s all just come to terms with it - they are purveyors of unhealthy food. It isn’t just this that the industry tries to obscure from view however, there are other things that lie hidden behind the bright lights and smiling faces?
Jobs at fast food restaurants, also known as McJobs (as they are defined in the Oxford English Dictionary), are the largest source of employment for low-income workers in the United States. Sounds great right? However, the brutal reality of this is that workers are faced with low hourly wages, have no health insurance, and have little to no control over their working hours. They have no job security and with this comes crushing anxiety.
A typical McDonald’s or Burger King branch employs about sixty workers, whose daily schedules are unpredictable in that they are purely reliant on fluctuating demand; all that employees know in advance is that they will work approximately thirty hours a week. This tactic of hiring such large numbers of low-paid employees whose schedules are constantly shifting keeps labour costs low as management can easily send workers home without disrupting business. However, this convenience comes at a cost to employees, almost all of whom are teenagers - perhaps because this demographic are the cheapest to hire and the easiest to exploit? As soon as they finish school, they go to their jobs at the local fast food branch which they rely on to pay for calculators and computers, or to sustain their families and help fund their education. As such, they’re not able to make time for the activities we consider crucial in the life of a teenager- they’re not doing homework, they’re not studying, and they’re not doing sports. In short, teenagers might find that they’re failing school, because they’re too busy at their poorly-paid job with long hours at McDonald’s to study or practice healthy hobbies. Studies show that teenagers who work more than twenty hours a week - like fast food employees - are more likely to cut classes, drop out of school, and adopt unhealthy attitudes to employment, believing that honest work won’t get them anywhere in life.
However, these jobs still aren’t the worst in the industry. Workers in fast-food factories in China, Hong Kong and other parts of the world are often treated horribly. Some are as young as fourteen years old, work sixteen hours a day (twice as long as the average American workday) and are paid less than twenty cents an hour, a wage almost thirty times less than the lowest pay you can give an American worker.
In short, the teenage employees of the fast food industry are not well paid, are given long hours, and their jobs distract the vital schoolwork that they are given. They have a high likelihood of abandoning their job, and thinking that proper work won’t get them better jobs. The workers making the toys for McDonalds are treated even worse, getting a few cents an hour and working for too many of them. They are badly treated and this is why the workers are a big reason why the fast food industry should shut down.