People who work hard everyday shouldn’t have to depend on food stamps to get by. Yet for many who work at fast-food companies nationwide, it is a way of life.
This week, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley released a new report, Fast Food, Poverty Wages, that shows that fast-food jobs cost Americans nearly $7 billion every year. More than half of fast-food jobs pay so little that workers are on food stamps and other forms of public assistance.
“I would like for us to get a raise in order to live better and be able to support our families better,” Burger King worker Georgina Gutierrez told the Boston Globe. “To be working so hard and under so much pressure from management and to not earn something decent, is not easy.”
Question: how much do low-wage, no-benefit, fast-food jobs in Massachusetts cost taxpayers annually? Answer: $173 million.
Companies like McDonald’s and Burger King are making billions of dollars a year, yet they force workers to rely on taxpayers to get by. These corporations are draining money out of our communities, money that could be used to improve schools, invest in infrastructure and create jobs.
Jobs that pay workers so little that they are eligible for public assistance don’t help the economy–they hold it back. Fast food corporations like McDonalds and Burger King need to do the right thing and pay workers a living wage raise our pay so they can be independent.
In fact, fast-food companies rely on the fact that taxpayers will pick up the slack for their low wages. A companion report, Super-Sizing Public Costs, by the National Employment Law Project shows how much low-wage jobs cost the public at each of the 10 top fast-food corporations. McDonald’s topped the list, to the tune of $1.2 billion per year.
McDonald’s, which made $5.5 billion in profits last year, even tells employees that they should go apply for food stamps if they are having trouble getting by.
Our economy is stronger when consumers have more purchasing dollars in their pockets and don’t have to rely on help from the government. Boosting workers help boost our families, our communities and our Commonwealth and our nation.
Fast-food corporations should be putting money into workers’ pockets instead of draining money out of public programs to boost their profits.