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October 15, 2013 - Harry Eagar
Bloomberg News reports on a study finding that it costs about $7 billion a year in various forms of welfare to bring fast-food workers UP to poverty status.

Next time some Tea Party whinger gripes about having his taxes used to support layabouts, throw that in his face.

At a $9 minimum wage and 40 hours a week, a burger pusher would gross $360 a week. Actually, not bad compared to many millions of working Americans who do a lot worse.

I used to work in the fast-food industry, picking up opala in the parking lot of a Shoney's Big Boy. It was a part-time job during school, and I would have liked full-time hours during the summer vacation. I didn't get that very often.

I walked to work -- it was about 6 miles. It didn't bother me then, but it would have later.

As RtO once said, time is the heaviest tax we put on the poor. (There were days when I worked a split shift and walked 24 miles.)

Conditions have changed in fast food since I got my 75 cents an hour and 75 cents a shift meal money. There are more workers who are not hungry school boys and girls. Even in 1963, there were 75-cent-an-hour adults working at Shoney's.

They were not mentally capable of doing anything much more complicated than busing tables. A decent society exerts itself to provide dignity and health and respect to such people.

Here let me honor the Northern California/Hawaii division of Safeway stores and its checkers union for giving that sort of respectable and respectful work to baggers, many of whom have Down syndrome. And, retrospectively to the father of my school buds Pat and Mike Ivey, who hired those dullards at Shoney's -- and me.

If Safeway food costs a little more (and I haven't noticed that it does), then I don't mind.

Follow the link and read the comments to see another reason to despise Tea Partiers. Nasty stuff.


Article Comments



Oct-15-13 9:40 PM

Part-time used to be just 20 hours a week. Full time 40 hours a week. Maybe American companies and unions should come to negotions and redifine what is what. More profit lost if the employee is taken care of. Maybe America is going back to slavery again with a twist. One gets an hourly wage, PERIOD. One don't like it, they are told they can quit. America does not even own most companies but are financed by foreign countries that have money to spend.

America if so "exceptional", Why do they have to borrow money? I cannot borrow from a bank without collateral.


Oct-15-13 9:29 PM

1969 was my first job. Same year I could apply for Social Security. 1.25 non union. Inflation is man made. Since unions came to power, wages went up but so did consumer goods go up. I said before that I could make 15 cents out of a dollar. Federal Tax, State Tax, union dues, Social Security.

Union reps get paid by members dues. Government leaders get paid by tax payers. Republicans and Democrats, both. Not one but both. Candidates get donations or bribe money. Fund raisers for 1000 dollars are plate of food that one can get for 10 dollars. Unions can do nothing to stop workers from getting laidoff. This Federal workers layoff shows proof. Did they stop? Where was the union when Aloha Airlines got shut down? ATA Airlines? car rentals and hotels? I wasted money paying for dues with no future security. I got good pay but there is no airlines to work for.

Everything is cheaper in N. Carolina due to ground shipping and not by air or sea cargo ships.


Oct-15-13 7:36 PM

Further thoughts on compensation.

No doubt employer-paid health insurance is worth a lot.

A gold-plated plan covering a family might run the employer $20,000 (depending on lots of factors). That sounds terrific if you are making $18,000 a year ($9 times 40 x 52).

But people making $9 an hour don't get gold-plated plans.


Oct-15-13 6:27 PM

You way overestimate the dollar value of health care. I once worked for a woman who, when making a job offer, would present a sheet showing her total cost. In a few special cases (single moms with kids and some other factors), the pay rate was as little as half the total cost (including SSI etc.) but that was unusual.

You are too hard on unions. Cannery kids in Hawaii were getting $1.25 around 1952 (as told to me by Damien Farias of Maui Toyota). In a no-union state like N. Carolina, 75 cents was usual even 10 years later.

Right-to-work laws screw workers worse than just about anything. It's no wonder rich rightwingers love them so much.


Oct-15-13 5:51 PM

correction: 1.25 an hour.

This was a 40 hour work week. Two days off.


Oct-15-13 5:49 PM

9 dollars an hour with full medical benefits is approximated to about 20 dollars an hour without health benefits or partial.

I used to work summers picking pine in the fields at 1.25 and hour. Two summers and moved on to two summers at the cannery at 1.50 to 1.75 an hour. No health benefits. I was young and healthy, I guess.

Second job after being in the military was with a local airlines at part-time, 20 hours a week at 7.50 an hour with no health benefits and free flying. A year later as a part-timer, I moved to Oahu to work full time at 40 hours a week. Full medical and other full time benefits. Stayed on for 25 years.

Working for less an hour but getting full medical benefits, I think is a deal.

Unions took a percentage of pay for no coverage is company closes down. unions are leaches and should be the blame of our downfall. Good when working but they do not care if you get laidoff. smaller pay check for reps.


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