As the election draws nearer, one issue continually addressed is wage inequality. One industry where this inequality is prevalent is fast food. Here, the average worker makes roughly $11,000 a year. This is easily the monthly salary of most of the same companies’ upper management, and the more that is exposed, the more appears to be imbalanced. Most recently, NY ordered Papa John’s to pay a settlement of $500,000 to workers from 9 NYC locations in Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx.
HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT
The most common way the massive fast food corporations are able to get away with such outrageously low pay is to franchise. The corporation is then protected from liability of grievances by employees, so the accountability then falls on the franchise owner. The recent half million dollar ruling isn’t the only one levied against a Papa John’s franchise, another $3 million ruling was issued in NY, as well.
NOT JUST PIZZA
The controversial pizza joint isn’t the only fast food company under scrutiny. As a rule, the fast food CEO earns 1,000 times more than the fast food employee. More incendiary is the fact that fast food CEOs and the like are among the absolute highest grossing workers in America. The average fast food CEO earned $23.8 million in 2013. The same companies are seeing profits of anywhere form $10-$50 billion a year, and certainly, the quality of the ingredients isn’t improving.
CHANGE IS COMING
While the corporations and fast food CEOs earn large profits, the franchise owners earn far less. There is an apparent log jam of funds at the highest point of these companies, so the money collects and remains at the top. Of note, is encouraging news from the United States Department of Labor, where state and federal regulators are working to have the large fast food corporations named as “joint employers” or “co-defendants.” In a statement last week, head of the Wage and Hour Division at the U.S. Department of Labor, David Weil, said, “”Franchisees must understand that they are not exempt from the law.” While this doesn’t fix the problem, it’s a start. Can fixing wage inequity help crime rates? Can addressing inequality in this country begin to improve quality of life and begin to heal the woes and wounds that plague so many? Tell us what you think: Facebook and Twitter
October 19, 2015 / Ryan Serey