The reporter Roop Raj asked picketing fast food worker Lakecha Jackson, “Some people are saying that even paramedics don’t make $15.00 an hour and they save lives, so why should fast food workers get that?”
Lakecha Jackson responded with, “Because we do too much. We do more than we get paid.”
No, seriously, that was her answer. You can see the whole segment here:
In other words, she has no idea why she should get paid $15.00 an hour.
Do you know what concerns me more? If you asked a paramedic or EMT the same question, I bet they would answer it the same way.
That’s my whole issue with the #FastFood15 movement. They are focusing on the reasons why they want the increase as opposed to the reasons they deserve the increase. Of course, it could also just be that they actually don’t deserve the increase and, therefore, have no reasons so they are reaching for the easiest argument.
Kind of like how we say “EMS saves lives” when… in all reality… we know we don’t.
Over the summer I stopped off at one of the two Arby’s there are in Queens. On my way in the door, I saw this poster on the window. I think the poster is pretty clear in its message. Arby’s is saying that by starting with them, you can go on to bigger and better things… in this case they name EMS as the bigger and better thing. They are literally advertising themselves as a stepping stone.
Those people on television demanding the $15.00? They think Arby’s (or the fast food franchise of your choice) is a career.
We often complain about the exact same thing in EMS, how we are seen as a stepping stone. Those of us who have chosen to make it a career have done so with a conscious acknowledgement that we did not have to stay because we too could have gone on to bigger and better things. If we want EMS to be more than a stepping stone and we want better wages then we need to know why we deserve to be a career with better pay. Here are just 5 reasons off the top of my head:
- Physically demanding work
- Educational requirements (yes, even for non-degree certifications)
- Emotionally draining
- Mentally challenging
- Hazardous work conditions
Of course depending on how the whole #FastFood15 movement goes… that bigger and better thing may be Arby’s.
At least I won’t get PTSD from putting pickles on a sandwich… or could I?