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Saturday, May 24, 2008

The King and Tomatoes

Say what? What king? Burger King.
Having read a small three-sentence, two-paragraph article buried deep within the daily newspaper on the Business page at the very bottom of the "In Brief" column, I became interested in the topic of Burger King paying 1.5 cents more per pound for tomatoes from Florida. Of that amount, one penny will be passed on to the tomato pickers and allegedly double their earnings according to the newspaper article I read.
An internet search resulted in many hits, among which were:
The Canadian Press: Fast food chain Burger King, farm worker group agree on wage deal
MSN: Burger King, farmworker group agree on wage deal
Stockhouse: Burger King to pay Florida tomato pickers more
The Palm Beach Post: Burger King signs deal with tomato workers
If you clicked onto the embedded links and have read the articles, I hope you caught the part about this issue being political with the involvement of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) who seemingly worked tirelessly on the issue.
I am all in favor of decent wages, prevailing wages, living wages and the like. My question in regard to the fast food industry and the area of condiments is: What about mustard seed pickers, onion pickers, and cucumber (turned into pickle relish) pickers?
Let's make sure that all American workers are paid decent wages. That is REAL economic development. After all, the marketplace needs to have customers who have the money to purchase the goods, services, and products in the marketplace. And, the government needs to have citizens who contribute sufficiently into the tax coffers.
And while I'm on that kick, what about all the workers in the service industry whose income depends in large part on tips? How much do they really earn? Isn't it about time that we get rid of the hidden costs of services to consumers and the "welfare" supplement to employers?
I say do away with tips, make the employer pay a decent wage to the employee, and pass the cost along to the customer and consumer just as is done in the sale of material goods.
So, there! Put that in your pipe and smoke it!
Come on, Congress, get off your duffs. Use the Interstate Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution to get involved in this!


Ben said...

Good to see Bernie Sanders making such an impact on the Senate so soon.

Tim Higgins said...


I agree with you that everyone needs to make a liveable wage. I only question governments part in it. I like your examples of workers working for tips, people paid for piece work, and those making minimum wage. None of these probably consitute a liveable wage, and what would food costs be if the people performing most of these tasks made such a wage.

On the other hand, if Burger King "voluntarily" decided on the extra money ... good for them. I suspect strong arm tactics however, and that worries me.