Low fast-food wages come at high public cost, reports say
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!
More business news Overall, the core fast-food workers are twice as likely to rely on public assistance than workers in other fields, said one of the reports, which examined nonmanagerial fast-food employees who work at least 11 hours a week and 27 weeks a year. Even among the 28 percent of fast-food workers who were on the job 40 hours a week, the report said, more than half relied on the federal safety net to get by. These statistics paint a picture of workers not being able to get their fair share of the largest, richest economy in the world, said Sylvia A. Allegretto, lead author of the report by the university economists, which was paid for by Fast Food Forward, a group that supports walkouts by fast-food workers. It is a good thing that we have these work supports, but they should be a last resort. Those workers are left to rely on the public safety net even though the nations seven largest publicly traded fast-food companies netted a combined $7.4billion in profits last year, while paying out $53million in salaries to their top executives and distributing $7.7billion to shareholders, according to the second report, by the National Employment Law Project, a worker advocacy group. Fast-food industry representatives disputed the findings. Their restaurants offer a valuable entry into the workforce for millions of people, they said, including the 40percent who are students. These misleading efforts use a very narrow lens and selective data to attack the industry for their own purposes, and fail to recognize that the majority of lower-wage employees work part-time to supplement a family income, said Scott DeFife, executive vice president of the National Restaurant Association. The inclusion of the earned income tax credit shows just how misleading these efforts are, as it is a tax credit specifically designed for working families, not public assistance, and is used to inflate their numbers. But many others are trying to support households, advocates said. They pointed to the growing activism among fast-food workers, poorly paid employees of federal contractors and other low-wage workers who for the past year have been calling a series of small but growing number of one-day strikes. They are demanding pay raises to $15 an hour and an easier route to forming unions. The job actions are supported by organized labor groups, including the Service Employees International Union and Change to Win, which are lending staff and cash to the effort.
We’ve found the most annoying song ever, and it happens to be about fast-food Chinese food. Oh, and it’s also called, you guessed it, “Chinese Food.'” It’s understandable to want to sing about a food you love. Freshly shucked oysters with a squeeze of lemon are always song-worthy, but most of us know better than to break into song. Unless you’re 12-year-old Alison Gold. Also Is the Kookn’ Kap chef’s hat the next big thing in the kitchen? Gold teamed up with producer Patrice Wilson to create the song. And if Wilson’s name sounds familiar, you should remember him as the guy who produced Rebecca Black ‘s “Friday” ,that ear-piercing song that took the Internet by storm in 2011. In the “Chinese Food” video, Gold starts by singing about clubbing (at 12!), getting hungry and grumpy. She finds a Chinese restaurant called “Chinese Food” and runs inside, because after all, it’s her favorite. And the worst chorus in history begins: “I love Chinese food, you know that it’s true.” (Do I?) “I love fried rice, I love noodles, I love chow mein, chow me-me-me-me-mein.” (Someone should tell her that chow mein is noodles) Gold meets a man in a panda suit who becomes her new friend. Because everyone meets pandas while sitting in a fast-food Chinese restaurant. They sing and run through the park together. In one creepy scene, he tickles her. The panda man takes off his head to reveal it’s Wilson, who starts to rap in an accent we’re assuming he thinks is Chinese, about eating wonton soup and playing Monopoly with a bunch of pre-teens wearing pajamas in a bedroom.
Those who are more cautious about food fortification highlight that there are alternative policy interventions available to correct nutrient deficiencies. There are public health, social, and agriculture development measures available to promote food security and healthy dietary behaviours. For example, the Food and Agriculture Organization has proclaimed that Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition will be the focus of World Food Day in 2013 . Some suggest that food fortification policy decisions should be made with regard to uncertainties about scientific evidence and ethical considerations. Scientific uncertainties relate to the public heath effectiveness as well as safety implications of food fortification. Ethical considerations associated with increasing nutrient exposure resulting from food fortification relate to balancing the rights of individuals, population groups and the population as a whole. How do we decide when to select food fortification and/or an alternative policy intervention as the preferred approach to tackle inadequate nutrient intake within a population? It is my view that an evidence-informed approach to food fortification policy-making starts with the recognition that not all causes of inadequate nutrient intake are the same. Too often food fortification policy is made because of the perception it offers a relatively easy and immediate quick fix to a health problem resulting from an inadequate nutrient intake, irrespective of the cause of the inadequacy. A failure to consider the underlying cause of an inadequate nutrient intake risks putting in place an ineffective policy intervention, or worse, one that carries safety concerns as well as adverse ethical implications. Successful food fortification interventions have been those where the technology has been used to directly tackle the underlying cause of an inadequate nutrient intake such as addressing inherent nutrient deficiencies in the food supply.