No matter how you feel about the wages of fast food workers, you're still subsidizing those burgers. A new report has some pretty startling numbers about the cost to the taxpayer as a result of fast food workers needing public assistance to get by. You can find the report HERE.
The report's release led to protests around the country, including one here. NUVO's Fran Quiqley was in attendance and sent us this missive:
A crowd of about two dozen fast-food workers and supporters gathered at 16th and Meridian Streets at noon today in front of a busy McDonald's. The event was the local version of nationwide events to showcase the release of a new report by UC Berkley and the National Employment Law Project showing that 52% of fast food workers are paid so little they have to enroll their families in public assistance programs.
Some Indianapolis fast food workers and supporters gave interviews to TV and print reporters while others marched and chanted. (My favorites: "Hold the burgers, hold the fries/Make my wages supersize!" and "Indy workers can't survive/Making seven twenty-five!" )
I don't work at a fast-food restaurant or for any of the organizations behind the report, although our law school clinic does represent low-wage workers in wage theft cases and unemployment insurance appeals. So my main role today was to represent taxpayers of the city, state, and country, who are forced to subsidize the poverty-wages business model of McDonald's and other fast food corporations. The report shows that McDonald's employees receive $1.2 billion in public assistance. So that Dollar Menu is a little more expensive for us than we think it is.
Today's report may be news to some of us, but it is not news to McDonald's. The company has encouraged employees to apply for food stamps and Medicaid, all while making $5.5 billion in profits last year and paying its CEO $13.8 million.
One of the workers demonstrating today was Dwight Murray. Like most fast food workers in this economy, he is no teenager earning beer money. He is a 27 year-old man trying to support a three-year old daughter on $8 per hour.