Taxpayers subsidizing corporations who create low wage jobs


If you haven’t seen the viral video of Nancy Salgado, a McDonald’s employee of ten years, yelling at the CEO, watch this video. Salgado complains that she has a hard time feeding her kids on minimum wage. No kidding.

Anyone making minimum wage is barely squeaking by from paycheck to paycheck. They are one crisis away from a world of hurt.

But now there’s a study that highlights the real cost of paying people such low wages.

Minnesotans for a Fair Economy held a press conference yesterday about this report. The report entitled Fast Food, Low Wage by the University of California – Berkley details how taxpayers pay $7 billion per year so that McDonald’s, Burger King et al can reap massive profits.

“Instead of subsidizing poverty wages at corporations like Wendy’s and McDonald’s to the tune of $7 billion per year, we should be investing that money in public programs like K-12 education and healthcare,” said SEIU Local 284 Executive Director Carol Nieters. “These corporations bring in billions of dollars of profits each year, yet they pay their workers so little that workers are forced to rely on government assistance.”

The fast food industry is becoming (or has become) a core part of our economy now that NAFTA and other free trade agreements have allowed manufacturers to ship jobs overseas. The vast majority of fast food employees don’t get health insurance and the report shows that they rely on government assistance at twice the rate of workers in any other sector.

“This report highlights that Minnesotans working in fast-food jobs can work full time and still not have enough money to provide for their families,” said The Reverend Grant Stevensen, clergy leader with ISAIAH. “It is wrong that these fast-food companies are raking in billions in profits while their workers are more likely to live in or near poverty and be in need of government assistance than workers in any other industry.”