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Half of Fast Food Workers Receive Income Subsidies, Medicaid or Food Stamps, Study Says

Hartford Courant, October 15, 2013

 By Mara Lee

About half of front-line workers at fast-food chains receive food stamps, have children or are themselves on Medicaid, or have their wages supplemented by the Earned Income Tax Credit, according to a study released Tuesday by professors from the University of California, University of Illinois and University of Massachusetts-Boston.

Half of these workers earn less than $8.69 an hour, and half work 30 hours a week or fewer, so, if they are parents, they are precisely the kinds of workers the EITC is designed to help. Connecticut’s minimum wage is $8.25.

The study, which was paid for by Fast Food Forward, a union-backed effort to organize fast food workers and drive up their wages, noted that 25 percent of all U.S. workers qualify for food stamps, the Earned Income Tax Credit, or Medicaid coverage for their children.

The study said that about 800,000 families that include a fast-food worker received EITC, but the cost of those subsidies, about $1.9 billion, was lower than the cost of Medicaid coverage. The study said that 340,000 workers receive Medicaid themselves, and 330,000 have a child getting public health care insurance. The cost of the health insurance for the adults was about $2.5 billion and the cost for the children was $1.5 billion annually, the authors estimated.

Connecticut activists and politicians will hold a rally at 4 p.m. Tuesday in front of a Wendy’s at 950 Washington St., Middletown to publicize the findings. The announcement noted that fast food workers in 60 cities went on a one-day strike in August to ask for higher wages. In central Connecticut, 15 workers participated in the strike.

 

Original Article

 

 
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