- McJobs and Workers -
Why work at McD's when you could be paid to ride a bike?
Posted by: Luke Kuhn ( Utopian Anarchist Party, U$A ) on January 10, 19100 at 12:28:20:
Over the past three years I have seen one horror story after another about working conditions in fast food. I've heard of haircut rules, forced overtime, and countless other abuses.
People say fast food is the employer of last resort. Well, McD's is NOT the only job you can get with no employment history, no diploma, and no physical exam, psych test, or drug test. Currently I am working as a bike messenger, for instance. I am considered an independant contractor and I am paid by the job-not the hour. While the pay sucks, it is NO WORSE than fast food pays unless everyone in the offices is off for a week(I don't work those kind of weeks e.g. christmas to New Years). In addition, I decide what days I want to work and even what hours. While the company starts operations at around 8:00 am, since I cannot get into town that early I start at 9:00 am. Peak hours are 9:00am till 1:00 or so. On good days 3:00 to 5:00 or so will also be hot. Since I am paid by the job, if I need time off it costs the company nothing and just makes more money for the others. Similarily, I benefit when others take time off. Those who need guaranteed income and have a proven track record can also "go on guarantee" with many companies and work fixed hours with a minimum that their pay cannot go below-in some cases I have heard of bike racers who could really move getting $80+ per day!
Things stay this way because few messengers will tolerate being exploited and their are many messenger companies competing both for the same clients and the same messengers. In short, if you can ride a bike in bad weather and value your freedom, this is a much better job(of last resort or otherwise) than McDonald's. Even a slow rider like me can meet or beat the minumum wage pay of fast food.
Therefore, I can't understand where fast food is finding people willing to put up with all their nonsense rules about hair,etc. and the work sick orders, mandatory overtime, etc. I am suprised the bulk of their employees don't show up in industries like mine. While such a thing would kill my pay by bidding down wages temporarily, other kinds of employers would soon have to adjust and things would return to normal-except for far more employee or contractor freedom in ALL low-wage work. Therefore, I would not mind it one bit. After all, in the end I would have more options myself if I get sick of any one field.