Over Half of Fast Food Workers Enrolled in Public Assistance Programs
A new study by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley reveals that 52 percent of fast-food workers are forced to enroll their families in public assistance programs to get by, costing American taxpayers almost $7 billion annually.
Funded by Fast Food Forward, the report shows that fast food workers in front-line positions, like cooks, are enrolled in public assistance programs, such as Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program, and The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, at more than twice the rate of the overall workforce.
The fast food industry is a $200 billion-a-year industry, but most jobs pay at or near minimum wage, and only 13 percent of jobs provide health benefits. The low wages and benefits, combined with an average workweek of only 30 hours, contribute to the need for public assistance--although even full-time fast food workers working 40 hours per week or more have to turn to assistance programs.
On top of that, two-thirds of fast food workers are adults over the age of 20, with 68 percent acting as the main wage earners in their families, and a quarter raising at least one child. Seventy-three percent of all front-line workers are women, and 43% are black or Latino.
The report was based on an examination of industry workers not in management positions who worked at least 10 hours per week for at least 27 weeks a year between the years of 2007 and 2011. It comes at a time when fast food workers around the nation are campaigning for $15 hourly wages.
Media Resources: NPR 10/16/13; UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education 10/15/13; UC Berkeley News Center 10/15/13; Feminist Newswire 5/13/13, 7/31/13, 8/27/13
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .