Friday, December 6, 2013

Fast Food Workers Strike Across US

The World was paying attention to the passing of Nelson Mandela on December 5th, but another milestone was happening in 130 cities across the United States. Inspired by Fast Food Forward in New York City, workers from fast food chains rallied for a one day strike for a livable wage. 

While the fast food industry made 200 billion dollars last year, with some of it's CEO's making upwards of 51 Million dollars in salary and compensation packages, but apparently, this industry can not afford to pay it's workers more than minimum wage or give benefits to the majority of it's employees.

We are told that our burgers, fries, tacos, pizzas and fried chicken would cost more if the workers were paid a livable wage. The food is actually costing us much more in terms of tax payers subsidizing the fast food work force to the tune of $7 billion a year. McDonald's alone cost over $1 billion. These costs come from the fact that over half of all fast food workers receive some sort of governmental assistance, in health care (mainly for children of the workers) food stamps, rent and child care subsidies and earned income tax credits. We also pay the top end of the "fast food chain" because of corporate tax loop holes allow the companies to not pay taxes (we pay to subsidize this) for "compensation packages" to their CEO's. Some of these executives make up to $51 million per year in combined salary and compensations such as stock. 

The other way we pay for the cheap fast food is through agricultural subsidies for things like corn, meat and soy. High Fructose Corn Syrup is in most everything you can imagine at a fast food restaurant, from breads to sodas, condiments and desserts. GMO corn is used to feed the animals raised in factory farms for those famous burgers and nuggets.

But the biggest way we pay as a society is through the terrible health effects of eating fast food.

Do we really want to support an industry that wastes so much tax payer money while polluting the environment with factory farms? Should we be arguing to increase the wages of workers in an industry that produces food which destroys our health?

I am all for a livable wage. Hard working people should be compensated for their time. But why not steer people to jobs that do not harm so many levels of our civilization and citizens? In American Meat, film maker Graham Merriwether shows that if we switched over to sustainable meat production , not only could we create good paying jobs, but our environment would benefit.

Fast food workers need good jobs that contribute to the betterment of society. This should be the focus of the debate.

No comments:

Post a Comment