HARRISBURG, April 23, 2014 – 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 has state Sen. Christine Tartaglione demanding once again that Pennsylvania Republicans act now to increase the commonwealth’s minimum wage.

Demos said today that the CEO-to-worker pay ratio in the fast food industry was a whopping 543-to-1 in 2012. Between 2000 and 2012 the overall average ratio was 332-to-1.

“As of today, according to Demos’ study, fast food executives make an average of $3,937 an hour while their cashiers, cooks and maintenance crews who work in Pennsylvania pocket a paltry $7.25 an hour,” Tartaglione said.

“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,” the senator said.

As Tartaglione underscored in Demos’ study, “Fast Food Failure,” income inequality like this could jeopardize Pennsylvania’s economy and the companies operating in the fast food industry.

“The most unequal sectors are among those providing the greatest numbers of new jobs in the economy, replacing jobs in sectors with lower income inequality,” Demos’ executive summary states. “Income inequality is increasing legal, regulatory, and operating risks for fast food firms. Millions of dollars in legal fees, increasing customer wait times, and labor unrest are evidence of the systemic problems of income inequality in fast food.”

Pennsylvania is one of the last Northeast states to adopt an increase in its minimum wage, but Sen. Tartaglione has proposed legislation to change that.

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

Since proposing SB 1300 March 18, a new coalition, “Raise the Wage PA,” has formed; Connecticut increased its minimum to $10.10; AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka began to actively push for the nationwide adoption of the $10.10 hourly rate, and Maryland recently approved an increase in its minimum.


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