12 Fast Facts About Thursday's Fast-Food Strike
12 Fast Facts About Thursday's Fast-Food Strike
By Richard Eskow / commondreams.org
Dec 5, 2013

This Thursday, December 5, workers at fast-food restaurants around the country will be striking for higher pay and better working conditions. Their primary demand is an increase in their base hourly wages to $15 an hour.

Here are 12 things you should know about Thursday’s action.

1. If wages had kept pace with productivity gains, the minimum wage would be over $16 an hour.

Corporate profits have soared. Workers are producing more, but they’re not sharing in the rewards.

Productivity and the minimum wage generally increased at the same rate from 1947 to 1969, during this country’s postwar boom years. Using a conservative benchmark, economists Dean Baker and Will Kimball determined that the minimum wage would be $16.54 today if it had continued to keep pace with productivity.

The strikers are asking for $15 an hour.

(Source: Baker and Kimball, Center for Economic and Policy Research)

2. The average fast food worker makes $8.69 an hour.

Many jobs pay at or near the minimum wage, which is $7.25 per hour. And an estimated 87 percent of fast food workers receive no health benefits.

(Source: UC Berkeley Labor Center)

3. The CEO of McDonald’s Corporation makes $13.8 million per year.

That’s a 237 percent pay increase over last year, when he was paid a “mere” $4.1 million. Presumably health benefits are also included.

(Source: USA Today)

4. McDonald’s cost the American taxpayer an estimated $1.2 billion in public assistance per year.

In other words, taxpayer money is subsidizing this large corporation’s profits – at the expense of American workers.

(Source: National Employment Law Project)

5. McDonald’s made $1.5 billion in profits last quarter.

That’s up 5 percent from the previous year.

(Source: McDonald’s Corporation)

6. The 10 largest fast food companies cost taxpayers an estimated $3.9 billion in government health assistance and $1.04 billion in food assistance.

Republicans are demanding cuts to government health and food programs. With all the talk of deficit reduction, it’s surprising that no one has pointed out that a great way to lower expenditures would be by ending these backdoor subsidies for highly profitable corporations.

(Source: UC Berkeley Labor Center)

7. These 10 companies earned $7.4 billion in profits last year.

They also paid out $7.7 billion in dividends. Meanwhile …

(Source: National Employment Law Project)

8. Fast food workers are more than twice as likely to be on public assistance.

25 percent of American workers receive some form of public assistance – which is a disturbing figure itself. For fast food workers that figure was 52 percent.

And it’s not just part-time work that’s causing the problem.  More than half of full-time fast food workers receive some form of public assistance.

(Sources: University of California, Berkeley/University of Illinois studyUC Berkeley Labor Center)

9. Most of the workers who would be affected by this wage change are adults.

We also hear that it’s not necessary to raise the minimum wage, especially for fast food workers, because most of them are “kids” working a few hours each week for pocket money. Think of this as the “malt shoppe” argument.

But it’s not true. Most low-wage workers are adults. Nationally, adults make up 88 percent of the workers who would receive a raise if the minimum wage were increased to $10.10 per hour. In locales as distinct as New York State and Albuquerque, New Mexico, that figure rises to 92 percent.

(Sources: US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, Fiscal Policy InstituteNew Mexico Voices for Children/Fiscal Policy Project)

10. Over 7 million children live in minimum-wage households.

And many of these workers are parents. Seven million children – nearly  one American child in ten – feels the effects of low wages.

(Source: data from the National Women’s Law Center)

11. This strike is targeting large employers.

66 percent of low-wage workers are employed by organizations with 100 employees or more. Thursday’s strikers aren’t targeting mom-and-pop operations. They’re striking against some of America’s largest corporations.

How large? McDonald’s employs 707,850 people. Yum! Brands (better known as Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC) employs 379,449 people. Altogether these 10 companies employ 2,251,956 people.

The workforce for these ten companies is greater than the populations of Nebraska, West Virginia, Idaho, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota,  Alaska, North Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming, states which hold 28 seats in the United States Senate.  Shouldn’t these fast-food workers have a voice of some kind too?

(Sources: National Employment Law Project, US Census Bureau)

12. There’s probably a rally near you.

There’s an easy-to-use website to help you find one. There’s also an online workers’ strike kit, for fast food workers who want to take action.

(Source: Low Pay Is Not OK)

 

4.0 ·
1
Trending Today
Why It's Crucial for Women to Heal the Mother Wound
Bethany Webster · 15,679 views today · The issue at the core of women’s empowerment is the mother wound
Before He Was Assassinated, MLK Jr. Was Advocating For An End To Income Inequality
10 min · 14,332 views today · We can honor MLK Jr. by pursuing the causes he was advocating for before he was killed.  ​​ Part 2: The Basic Income, A New Human Right (3 minutes) MLK's idea of a basic...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 6,167 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
One "Piece of the Oppressor" That I Have Discovered Within Myself
Tim Hjersted · 4,039 views today · One "piece of the oppressor" that I have found in myself during my inner activist journeys is my use of shame as a method of engaging with the world's problems. Having learned...
Watch How Europeans Carved Up African Land They Never Owned
56 min · 3,592 views today · Watch how Europeans gave away African land they never owned, then expressed anger when Africans resisted. The film is called Africa: A Voyage of Discovery, Episode 6: The...
Looking Forward to the Day That Nationalism Is as Reviled as Racism
Tim Hjersted · 2,920 views today · Nationalism is a form of geographical racism that makes some lives matter more than others, and explicitly justifies that logic without apology. While today, not even lying...
#ReclaimMLK Seeks to Combat the Sanitizing of Martin Luther King Jr.'s Legacy
Danielle C. Belton · 2,705 views today · Martin Luther King Jr. had more than “a dream,” but you might not notice that on Monday during observances for his birthday. Somewhere between his assassination and today...
What Martin Luther King Jr. Can Teach Us about Nonviolence
John Dear · 2,628 views today · I've been reflecting on the principles of nonviolence that Martin Luther King Jr. learned during the historic yearlong bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala. After Rosa Parks refused...
The Corporation (2003)
145 min · 1,614 views today · The Corporation is today's dominant institution, creating great wealth but also great harm. This 26 award-winning documentary examines the nature, evolution, impacts and future...
Coping With Narcissistic Personality Disorder in the White House
N Ziehl · 1,201 views today · I want to talk a little about narcissistic personality disorder. I’ve unfortunately had a great deal of experience with it, and I’m feeling badly for those of you who are...
Dinosaur explains Trump policies better than Trump!
8 min · 1,022 views today · Donald Trump is actually the corporate triceratops, Mr. Richfield, from the 90's TV show sitcom, "Dinosaurs". 
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 989 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Positive Thinking in a Dark Age: A Guide to Gracefully Losing Faith in a Collapsing Dominant Culture
Jim Tull · 391 views today · I recall a Buddhist parable involving a stick that appears from a distance to be a snake, causing fear to rise in the perceiver. As the perception shifts upon closer...
The Invention of Capitalism: How a Self-Sufficient Peasantry was Whipped Into Industrial Wage Slaves
Yasha Levine · 359 views today · “…everyone but an idiot knows that the lower classes must be kept poor, or they will never be industrious.” —Arthur Young; 1771 Our popular economic wisdom says that...
The Comprehensive Activist Guide to Dismantling Neoliberalism
Drew Serres · 346 views today · “The creation of today’s market society was not the result of a sequence of spontaneous events but rather of state interference and violence.” – Naomi Klein in The Shock...
This Woman Gets No Applause...Why? They Are Too Creeped Out...
7 min · 343 views today · Think you aren't being fooled by advertising tricks? Take a look at this so-called expert revealing food marketing's secret weapon. No amount of marketing makes factory farming...
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 327 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
22 Documentaries That Tell the Truth About How Government Really Works
Tim Hjersted · 321 views today · And 6 that show how people are responding.
90 Inspiring and Visionary Films That Will Change How You See the World in Profound Ways
Tim Hjersted · 308 views today · The world today is in crisis. Everybody knows that. But what is driving this crisis? It's a story, a story that is destroying the world. It's a story about our relationship to...
Stunning Photos By Alexander Semenov Showcase The Alien Beauty Of Jellyfish
Earth Porm · 292 views today · Jellyfish appear like beautiful aliens in Alexander Semenov’s photography, calling a new attraction to a magical species of marine life. Alexander Semenov is a marine...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
12 Fast Facts About Thursday's Fast-Food Strike