The numbers are based on publicly available data on public assistance programs from 2007-2011. “Because pay is low and weekly work hours are limited, the families of more than half of the workers in the fast-food industry are unable to make ends meet,” the report said. Related: The real budgets of McDonald’s workers The data supports the claims that hundreds of fast food workers have been making across the country over the last year. Protests from New York City to Los Angeles, Memphis to Detroit have cropped up since last November , with workers calling for a minimum of $15 an hour and the right to organize without retaliation. The common narrative among fast food workers is that their pay is too low , they don’t get scheduled for enough hours and they get no benefits. The new report fuels their fire, finding that only 13% of fast food workers get health benefits from their employers, compared to 59% of the workforce on the whole. It also said that the median worker only works 30 hours per week, compared to 40 for the rest of the workforce. How I live on fast-food wages A separate report out Tuesday slammed fast food giants for pushing their workers onto the public safety net. The National Employment Law Project said that the 10 largest fast food companies in the U.S. were responsible for more than half the total cost to taxpayers — about $3.8 billion a year alone. The report calls out McDonald’s ( MCD , Fortune 500 ), Yum! Brands ( YUM , Fortune 500 ), Subway, Burger King ( BKW ), Wendy’s ( WEN ), Dunkin’ Donuts ( DNKN ), Dairy Queen, Little Caesar’s, Sonic ( SONC ) and Domino’s ( DPZ ). McDonald’s itself is responsible for $1.2 billion of that cost each year, NELP said. “The leading companies in the industry earn billions in profits each year, award chief executives generous compensation packages, and regularly distribute substantial amounts of money in the form of dividends and share buybacks,” the report said.
A new glitch this past Saturday allowed recipients a Walmart food stamps shopping spree at some of its Louisiana stores. Rich Pedroncelli/AP/File Enlarge NEW ORLEANS Wal-MartStores Inc and Xerox Corp blamed each other on Monday afterLouisianafood stamp recipients stripped bare the shelves of someWalmartstores when a computer glitch left their debit cards with no limits. The Christian Science Monitor Weekly Digital Edition Managers ofWalmartstores in the small,north Louisianatowns ofSpringhilland Mansfield alerted police on Saturday night that throngs of shoppers had flooded into the stores and were buying groceries using electronic benefit cards that contained no credit limits. EBT cards are debit-type cards issued under the state’s food stamp program and coded to show the amount of money available for individuals to spend. Food stamps are a federal government subsidy program for low-income people that is administered by the states. RECOMMENDED: Food stamps: How does the program work? When word got out Saturday that the EBT cards were showing no limits, card holders rushed to area Walmarts to take advantage. “Some people had eight or 10 shopping carts full of groceries,”Springhill PoliceChiefWill Lyndsaid on Monday. Xerox said on Saturday that its systems that process EBT transactions suffered an outage stemming from routine testing of backup generators that malfunctioned.Louisianawas one of 17 states affected by the outage. Kayla Whiting, a spokeswoman atWal-Mart’s Bentonville,Arkansas, headquarters, pointed to Xerox as the source of the problem and referred further questions to Xerox. Xerox corporate spokesmanBill McKeeprovided a written company statement saying that Xerox has a “documented process for retailers likeWal-Martto follow in response to EBT outages.” But the statement left unclear who would cover the unauthorized spending, and it referred further questions toWalmart. Louisianaofficials said they had no intention of being left holding the bag.
Majority of U.S. fast-food workers need public assistance: study
Credit: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson By Atossa Araxia Abrahamian NEW YORK | Tue Oct 15, 2013 3:24pm EDT NEW YORK (Reuters) – More than half of low-wage workers employed by the largest U.S. fast-food restaurants earn so little that they must rely on public assistance to get by, according to a study released on Tuesday. This ends up costing U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars a year, the study said. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau and public benefit programs show 52 percent of fast-food cooks, cashiers and other “front-line” staff had relied on at least one form of public assistance, such as Medicaid, food stamps and the Earned Income Tax Credit program, between 2007 and 2011, researchers at the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Illinois said. The Berkeley study was sponsored by the two universities and received funding from the pro-labor organization Fast Food Forward. In a concurrent report which drew from some of the same data, the pro-labor National Employment Law Project found that the 10 largest fast-food companies in the United States cost taxpayers more than $3.8 billion each year in public assistance because the workers do not make enough to pay for basic necessities themselves. “It doesn’t matter whether you work or shop at McDonald’s or not, the low-wage business model is expensive for everybody,” said NELP policy analyst Jack Temple, who worked on the report. “Companies … are basically pushing off part of their costs on the taxpayers.” The studies follow large nationwide demonstrations in August, when fast-food workers went on strike and protested outside McDonald’s, Burger King and other restaurants in 60 U.S. cities, demanding a “living wage” of $15 per hour.