CDT, October 15, 2013 NEW YORK (Reuters) – More than half of low-wage workers employed by the largest U.S. fast-food restaurants earn so little that they must rely on public assistance to get by, according to a study released on Tuesday. This ends up costing U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars a year, the study said. Related Fast food minimum wage protests go coast to coast Data from the U.S. Census Bureau and public benefit programs show 52 percent of fast-food cooks, cashiers and other “front-line” staff had relied on at least one form of public assistance, such as Medicaid, food stamps and the Earned Income Tax Credit program, between 2007 and 2011, researchers at the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Illinois said. The Berkeley study was sponsored by the two universities and received funding from the pro-labor organization Fast Food Forward. In a concurrent report which drew from some of the same data, the pro-labor National Employment Law Project found that the 10 largest fast-food companies in the United States cost taxpayers more than $3.8 billion each year in public assistance because the workers do not make enough to pay for basic necessities themselves. “It doesn’t matter whether you work or shop at McDonald’s or not, the low-wage business model is expensive for everybody,” said NELP policy analyst Jack Temple, who worked on the report. “Companies … are basically pushing off part of their costs on the taxpayers.” The studies follow large nationwide demonstrations in August, when fast-food workers went on strike and protested outside McDonald’s, Burger King and other restaurants in 60 U.S. cities, demanding a “living wage” of $15 per hour. The U.S.
Majority of U.S. fast-food workers need public assistance: study
And it’s largely thanks to those same musicians. “Not only did the music (industry) bring money, stable money, into this town, it also brought people, people from all over the country and the world, to live in Nashville,” says Roderick Bailey, who recently was named the Southeast’s best new chef by Food & Wine magazine. Those people brought worldly palates. And an expectation that those palates could be catered to. The Kings of Leon, for example. Band bassist Matthew Followill says the band’s constant touring exposed its members to all manner of great food. And they wanted it when they came home to Nashville. “A lot of the people in the food industry are also big music fans,” Followill said at the band’s Nashville studio. “We kind of felt like Nashville didn’t have a really good food scene going on. And it has changed for sure, in the past three, four, five years and there have been a lot of great restaurants that have come in. But for a while it was kind of lacking in that area compared to some of the other cities on the same scale.” That’s changing. Fast.
Musicians Play up Nashville Food Scene
Kayla Whiting, a spokeswoman atWal-Mart’s Bentonville,Arkansas, headquarters, pointed to Xerox as the source of the problem and referred further questions to Xerox. Xerox corporate spokesmanBill McKeeprovided a written company statement saying that Xerox has a “documented process for retailers likeWal-Martto follow in response to EBT outages.” But the statement left unclear who would cover the unauthorized spending, and it referred further questions toWalmart. Louisianaofficials said they had no intention of being left holding the bag. “The outage was the result of failures by our contractor, Xerox,” saidTrey Williams, a spokesman for theLouisianaDepartment of Children and Family Services. He said emergency procedures in place with Xerox allow retailers to call a phone number and receive authorization for purchases any time the EBT system is down. “Some retailers chose not to follow the process,” he said. “Those businesses are only being reimbursed for the (maximum) amounts on individual cards,” he said. Williams said that amounts transacted above the cards’ available balances were returned toWal-Martmarked “as insufficient funds.” He could not provide an estimate of the total amount of overspending or say who will cover it in the end. “That’s a conversation between Xerox and the retailer,” he said. CARTS FULL OF GROCERIES Springhill’s Lynd arrived at his town’sWalmartstoreat about 7 p.m. local time and found a few hundred shoppers jamming checkout lines with carts filled to overflowing. Lynd said he told the manager that the store had a right to refuse service, but the manager said she had contactedWal-Martheadquarters and was told to accept the cards. The shoppers “decimated the grocery section ofWalmart,” Lynd said. The shoppers broke no laws, Lynd said, adding that police intervention was not required to disperse the crowd.