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Serving Bitter Minimum Wage Irony

A national public policy organization’s study of how the salaries of fast food industry executives continue to blow away the measly pay of their frontline workers is proof positive that Pennsylvania Republicans who claim an increase in the minimum wage would be unaffordable and cost jobs – are wrong.

Demos said Tuesday in its study, “Fast Food Failure,” that the pay ratio in the CEO-to-worker fast food industry was a whopping 543-to-1 in 2012. Between 2000 and 2012 the overall average ratio was 332-to-1.

Figure 1. Accommodation And Food Services Had The Highest Pay Disparity

By that ratio alone, Demos’ study translates into this: fast food executives make an average of $3,937 an hour while their cashiers, cooks and maintenance crews who work in their Pennsylvania restaurants pocket a paltry $7.25 an hour.

This study is important because it goes to the heart of opponents’ arguments that a meager, incremental increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would somehow be unaffordable. Clearly, it would be very affordable in the fast food industry.

Income inequality like this could jeopardize Pennsylvania’s economy and the companies operating in the fast food industry.

Pennsylvania is one of the last Northeast states to adopt an increase in its minimum wage, but my legislation would change that.

Senate Bill 1300 would incrementally increase Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2016. My proposal to increase our tipped minimum to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage, Senate Bill 1099, is also awaiting consideration.

PA Unemployment Down; Employment, Too

UnemploymentEvery elected official would rightly tout a drop in statewide unemployment to its lowest level in six years, so it is good to say Pennsylvania’s March drop to 6 percent was good to see. But it is not the entire story.

As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported, the commonwealth lost 8,400 jobs last month from its employment rolls, which all but wiped out the 8,700 jobs gained in February.

With this decrease factored into the year-over-year tally, my Senate Democratic analysts tell me the commonwealth has added 17,200 new jobs since the same time last year. That’s a dismal number compared to March 2010 to March 2011 when Pennsylvania’s year-over-year job growth was more than five times higher than today.

The commonwealth continues to rank in the bottom tenth of states for percentage of year-over-year employment gains at number 45. Using its March unemployment rate, Pennsylvania is 24th in the country.

And, considering the net percentage change since this time last year, Pennsylvania is just sixth in employment growth when compared to its neighbors.

This is something important to remember if you hear the governor tout his work in the job creation realm. His numbers don’t usually consider all categories and all factors. For instance, when he says he has created 146,000 positions during his tenure he is ignoring the drop of 52,000 public sector jobs.

Made in PA

Are you a member of a great union and want some publicity? Let me know! We’ll highlight your labor group, company, and the Made in PA product or service that makes you proud right here in my weekly Labor Report.





Fast Food Failure