Full Page Ad in USA Today Warns a $15 Minimum Wage Will Force Businesses to Automate Jobs

Ad warns labor unions protesting for a $15 starter wage to be careful what they wish for
  • Publication Date: April 2016

Washington D.C. — The Employment Policies Institute (EPI) is placing a full-page ad in tomorrow’s edition of USA Today highlighting how a $15 minimum wage would incentivize businesses to replace employees with automated, self-service alternatives. The ad coincides with another round of coordinated union-backed protests of fast food restaurants demanding a $15 minimum wage. The Associated Press has reported that tomorrow’s round of protests will target McDonald’s restaurants.

The ad features a McDonald’s customer placing her order on a touch screen ordering system and is titled, “Meet Your New Crew Member.” The text below the image reads: “No Protests. No Training Costs. No Problem.”

The text at the bottom reads: “Labor unions protesting for a $15 starter wage should be careful what they wish for. When customers reject higher prices, entry-level jobs are automated.”

View the ad here.

McDonald’s has already installed thousands of touch screen ordering systems in higher-cost European markets, and has tested these systems here in the US. The company is also testing a McCafe ordering system where customers can order and receive their own custom coffee drink, with no employee assistance required. 

A recent paper from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco summarized the research on minimum wages increases, and confirmed that past hikes have measurably reduced job opportunities. A recent University of New Hampshire survey finds 72 percent of U.S.-based labor economists oppose a broad $15 mandate. Four out of five economists responded that such a wage hike would reduce job opportunities for young jobseekers. Even Obama and Clinton administration economists including Katharine Abraham and Harry Holzer believe a $15 minimum wage is a bad idea.

 “Union-backed protesters demanding a $15 starter wage may find that jobs have been destroyed after their shortsighted demands are met,” said Michael Saltsman, research director at the Employment Policies Institute. “Policymakers can have a $15 minimum wage, or they can have plentiful job opportunities for less-skilled job applicants — but they can’t have both.”