GOPers Mad Chipotle Not Screwing Workers And Passing The Savings Onto You The Consumer
Back when the pandemic first started and people legitimately could not go to work, we quickly learned that the most "essential" jobs outside of medical work were the retail and food service jobs that pay workers minimum wage or close to it. We learned that we actually cannot function without people doing those jobs — and it occurred to some of us that those people, being so essential, probably deserve to earn enough to live on.
Many of the people who realized this were, in fact, the people working those jobs — which is why they're not super interested in working them anymore if they can't earn a living wage while doing so.
This week, Chipotle announced that it will be raising prices by as much as four percent in order to be able to pay employees more money, due to an inability to find people willing to work for as little money as they had been paying previously. This means that my chicken burrito bowl might now cost $8.26 instead of $7.95, both of which are more than the national minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Oh, the horror.
Via New York Times:
In May, in an effort to hire 20,000 employees in a tight labor market, Chipotle said it was raising wages and would pay workers from $11 to $18 an hour.
"We really prefer not to" raise prices, Chipotle's chief executive, Brian Niccol, said Tuesday at the Baird Global Consumer, Technology and Services conference. "But it made sense in this scenario to invest in our employees and get these restaurants staffed and make sure we had the pipeline of people to support our growth."
Naturally, Republicans are outraged. They can hardly believe that poor people would be so incredibly rude and selfish as to ask for more money to work. They are convinced that the thing that brought this on is Democrats giving Americans enough to live on during the pandemic and now those people would like to have enough to live on all of the time. American wages are going up, and they will not stand for it.
Mike Berg, the spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee responded to the news on Wednesday, saying "Democrats' socialist stimulus bill caused a labor shortage and now burrito lovers everywhere are footing the bill." At, again, maybe 30 cents extra per burrito, just like Marx called for.
Now, I'm going to point something out here. The national minimum wage has not increased since 2009. That's now 12 years, the longest stretch with no increase, ever. You know what has gone up in that time? The price of a burrito at Chipotle. In fact, here is a picture of their menu from back in 2012, where you can see that a burrito was $5.70. Which is less than the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
What is pretty interesting however, is that, as Ken Klippenstein pointed out on Twitter, "price increases are blamed on modest wage increases instead of executive compensation."
Despite "abysmal sales" at the beginning of the pandemic, the top five bosses at the company earned $64 million in bonuses — raking in more than double what they had received the previous year. Notice that no one (well, no Republican) says "These rich guys are getting $64 million and burrito lovers are footing the bill!"
The changes added $23.6 million to Chief Executive Officer Brian Niccol's total compensation, pushing his 2020 pay to $38 million, more than double what he received in 2019. Four other bosses, including Chief Financial Officer Jack Hartung, also saw their compensation more than double from the prior year.
About 1,000 other Chipotle employees whom we can assume are not "Crew Members" also got some pretty nice bonuses that we can assume were probably several times more than $13,000, the average amount a Crew Member makes a year.
So just to be clear: Chipotle has raised their prices several times since 2009, and in the meantime, they've given out great bonuses to their C-Level employees and other higher-ups in the company. At no point has the NRCC issued a missive condemning them for raising prices and also giving those employees more money.
Mike Berg issued another NRCC missive today, about how actually prices for everything are going up, because of the labor shortage:
It's not just your burritos that are getting more expensive.
The Washington Post reports prices jumped by 5 percent in May compared with a year ago, the largest increase in inflation since the Great Recession.
And Axios reports Democrats are finally "willing to admit they may have gotten it wrong" now that their socialist stimulus bill is causing a massive labor crisis.
NRCC Comment: "Everything is more expensive and nobody can find employees thanks to Democrats' socialist stimulus bill. Voters will hold them accountable for their wasteful spending spree."
What if the problem is not that Democrats wanted to give people enough to live on while they couldn't work, but that these companies don't want to pay people enough to live on when they are working?
Republicans have been very clear for years that those jobs do not matter, are not necessary and are only supposed to be for teenagers working for pocket money anyway, and now they're mad that people won't do them? What gives? I thought that if people refused to work for nothing, they would be swiftly replaced by robots, and that having human employees was practically an act of philanthropy from kindly job creators? Where are their teenagers and robots now?
Of course, if Republicans are truly that upset about this price increase, there is something they can do. They can march right down to the nearest Chipotle and offer to work for the current minimum wage. If they really love America, that is the only way. They can't just sit there and complain that all of these other people don't want to work for minimum wage at Chipotle if they don't want to do it either. That's not right. They should be teaching us all the joy of working for less money than you can possibly live on, and truly sacrificing so that your fellow Americans do not have to pay 30 cents more for a burrito.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse