Super Sizing Public Costs: How Low Wages at Top Fast-Food Chains Leave Taxpayers Footing the Bill
National Employment Law Project | October 2013
Fast Food, Poverty Wages: The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Fast-Food Industry
UC Berkley Labor Center | October 2013
Going Nowhere Fast: Limited Occupational Mobility in the Fast-Food Industry
National Employment Law Project | July 2013
A Case for $15: A Low Wage Work Crisis
FightFor15.org – December 2012
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHY $15 / HOUR?
That’s the bare minimum of what the workers believe it costs to live in Los Angeles. If anything, it’s a modest demand. The MIT living wage calculator says that a single adult with a child in Los Angeles would actually need to make nearly $21 to survive. Workers are uniting for a $15 wage because they believe jobs should pay them enough to afford basics like rent and food. $15 an hour would mean the difference between having some money to put back into the economy, and having to ask the government for help.
The economy will never grow as long as people’s paychecks are so low. When workers have more money in their pockets, they can contribute to local businesses. The whole economy depends on workers earning a living wage.
ISN’T 15/HR BAD FOR THE ECONOMY?
With 15/hr, workers will have more money in their pockets. When workers have more money to spend, they spend it, almost entirely in the local community, on basic necessities like housing, food, clothing and transportation. When consumer demand grows, businesses thrive, earn more profits, and create more jobs. We need workers to earn more money so they can spend more money and help get the economy running again.
FAST FOOD/RETAIL ISN’T SUPPOSED TO BE A CAREER
In today’s economy, these jobs are increasingly becoming careers. The workers are not teenagers, but mothers and fathers supporting families. For our economy to move forward, they need to pay a decent wage that allows people to pick themselves up and contribute.
WHY DO LOW-SKILLED HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUTS DESERVE MORE THAN $8 / HOUR?
Americans believe that if you’re willing to work hard, you should be able stand on your own two feet and provide for yourself and your family, and actually contribute to the economy. If you work for a big, profitable corporation, you shouldn’t be forced to rely on public assistance to feed your family, provide healthcare for your kids or live in a homeless shelter. That’s the way to build a healthy economy that works for all of us. That’s why we’re fighting for $15 and the right to form a union.
The self-sufficiency standard for an adult with one child in Los Angeles is nearly $21 per hour—a far cry from minimum wage, and still well above the $15 we’re asking for.
HOW DO YOU EXPECT FRANCHISE OWNERS TO PAY WORKERS A LIVING WAGE?
These are incredibly lucrative companies. McDonald’s and other huge fast food corporations control almost every detail of how their restaurants run. They effectively set the pay and benefits that are paid at their stores – and they have the power to do better. These big corporations can afford to pay their employees $15 an hour and honor their right to form a union without interference.
WON’T PAYING WORKERS 15/HR INCREASE PRICES?
Paying workers a living wage of 15/hr, will lift thousands of workers out of poverty, a majority of whom are women, single mothers and people of color. Higher wages would mean an increase in worker’s efficiency and a reduction in employee turnover, making it easier to recruit and retain workers which is important for their bottom line. Many studies show that paying workers more raises prices by only a few cents. And at the end of the day, these corporations are raking in billions of dollars a year and have more than enough money to pay their employees a living wage so they don’t have to rely on public assistance to make ends meet.