Employees of the Wendy's at 101 Broadway go on strike at noon Thursday, December 5, along with fast-food workers in 100 cities. But the strike doesn't tell the story.
A study by the University of Illinois and the University of California-Berkeley poignantly shows that fast food is not as cheap as you think. Wages are so low that your taxes pay to keep the workers from starving. More than half (52 percent) of families of front-line fast-food workers are enrolled in tax-supported programs such as Medicaid and food stamps; that's double the percent in the total workforce.
Twenty percent of people working in fast-food jobs are living at or near the poverty level. The families of more than half of the fast-food workers employed 40 or more hours a week are enrolled in public assistance programs. Almost two-thirds of public-benefits spending goes to families with a working member.
There are almost 25,000 fast-food workers in San Diego earning a median wage of $9.14 an hour. An adult with one child needs to make $22.83 an hour working full time just to afford the basics, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.