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Legislators Probe Taxpayer Cost of Aiding Fast-Food Workers

San Francisco Chronicle, November 13, 2013

 By Melody Gutierrez

California Assembly and Senate Labor Committees will hold a joint post-lunch hearing Wednesday to dig in to the societal cost of low-wage, fast food jobs.

A recently released UC Berkeley report found 52 percent of fast food workers rely on public assistance, even those who work 40 hours or more a week.

That costs California taxpayers at least $717 million each year, said Ken Jacobs, chair of the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education Business.

Jacobs, who is a coauthor on the study, said researchers focused on fast food workers because they are the most acute example of what is happening in low-wage work.

“We found that fast food workers relying on public assistance was the rule, not the exemption,” Jacobs said Tuesday.

The report, “Fast Food, Poverty Wages: The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Fast Food Industry was released on the heels of a national strike in August by thousands of fast-food workers demanding higher pay. For a deeper look at the issues, read this Chronicle story from October.

The joint hearing in Sacramento comes as legislators across the country examine the public cost of low-wage, fast food jobs. To watch the 1:30 p.m. hearing, click here.


Original Article


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