As the national debate over fair wages goes on, the fast-food company Chipotle says it plans to raise wages for new and existing employees to an average of $15 an hour, and offer potential for career advancement. That’s a $2 per hour bump, and entry-level workers will earn $11 an hour. Chipotle also says it intends to hire 20,000 new employees and open 200 more locations by the end of 2021.
The burrito fast-food chain also says workers who stick around for three and a half years could get on the path for a promotion to manager — where the average annual salary is around $100,000. It’s a sign that the company recognizes the value of employee retention in an environment where many fast-food businesses and restaurants — businesses that usually offer low-paying jobs — complain they are having trouble finding workers as society reopens and resumes normal life.
The worker crunch has sparked concerns that a depleted workforce could stunt the growth of the economy as the U.S. reopens after more than a year of pandemic-induced restrictions. The latest disappointing jobs report — in which April saw only 266,000 new jobs created — only exacerbated that concern.
Some people, especially those on the Republican side, blame the stimulus checks and other aid provided by the Biden Administration’s $1.9 trillion relief bill for letting people earn more money for not working, instead of returning to work. Governors in three Republican states are cutting the $300 added unemployment payments to those who are out of work, to “motivate” them to get back to work.
President Biden today said the White House will work with states to reinstate work-search requirements.
But there is also the reality that many people who once worked in fast-food or at other service industry jobs may have simply left for greener, less grueling pastures. The Washington Post had a recent analysis that reframes the current labor shortage as a re-thinking about jobs in America and the workforce.
As President Biden said, companies need to rethink their approach to employee wages.
Jemele Hill, a contributing writer for The Atlantic, offered another appraisal of the situation with a simple question to Senator John Thune when he tried to defend low-wages as a necessary tactic for small-town businesses.