To fulfill your sci-fi fantasy, cue up the old Arnold Schwarzenegger “Terminator” movie to see how machines take over. But in the real world, there is a point to ponder. In an effort to push back on attempts to increase the minimum wage to $15 and keep padding the wallets of the ultra-rich, businesses like the popular McDonald’s franchise are resorting to automation. Recently, the burger and fries giant announced plans for a new customer experience by rolling out touchscreen self-service kiosks.

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This means less people managing cash registers. Sadly, Business owners and economists warned if unskilled, entry level employees were rewarded with an $15 per hour pay increase, companies will look into utilizing computer tablets as a solution to rising labor costs. Even sadder, is the fact that some, not all, companies seem to relish giving their employees the nickel and dime treatment.

Other quick service and full service restaurant chains are apparently jumping onto the bandwagon as well.

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The Starship robot is navigating around San Francisco’s neighborhoods delivering groceries and other goods. The fully-automated Eatsa has five locations throughout the nation. Some businesses lack the capital to switch out people for machines. So, a $15 minimum wage increase could force them to lay off workers, search for cheaper locations or shut down shop all together.

The golden state fallout

California seems to be the hardest hit state involving the wage debate.

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Listed on the Facesof15 website are business closures allegedly resulting from pay increases. In August, Ashley Furniture announced the closing of their production and warehouse facility in California. Citing the state’s rising minimum wage, one communications firm said they will be transferring 75 call center jobs from San Diego to El Paso, Texas. Unfortunately, California is not the only state laying off workers or cutting down their hours.

The fight for a $15 minimum wage

The union-backed fight for the $15 minimum wage began around 2013. It sounds like a noble cause worth fighting for considering families are struggling to make ends meet and folks need a job. In the past, so many high school students got their break transitioning into the workforce by earning a pay check in places like McDonald’s. However, the impact of the “$15 fight” so far has not been one for cause of celebration.

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At some point, there should come a meeting of the minds involving businesses and policymakers. Otherwise, the future will appear glum and the roar of working class people will only get louder.

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