With the upcoming April 15 strike by fast food workers, the topic of restaurant employee wages and treatment has never been more front and center. McDonald's made headlines for giving a small percentage of their workers minuscule raises, while fighting charges in court that the chain fired employees who attended these strikes.
Some companies, such as Ben & Jerry's, have successfully paid their employees a living wage for many years now, as well as offered them a variety of benefits. Jeff Furman — the Chair of Ben & Jerry's Board of Directors — describes in Fortune what he thinks American employers can do for their low-wage fast food workers.
1) Employers need to start seeing value "in caring for their employees and ensuring they can lead a dignified life."
2) They need to offer "substantial" raises to their lowest-paid employees. This will reduce employee turnover, which in turn saves companies upwards of $120 million a year.
3) Employers should give low-wage workers enough work hours "to earn a decent living." Additionally, workers should be asking for time off, not time on. Ben and Jerry's workers want more time off because during high demand seasons they often have to work overtime. Meanwhile, most fast food workers are fighting to get more hours to survive, and often cannot afford vacation time.
4) Companies should offer employees other benefits like transportation and food allowances. The less companies have to worry about while on the job, the more productive they will be.
5) Employers need to invest in employees by giving them "meaningful, paid experiences" outside of work.