New York City Council speaker and then-mayoral candidate Christine Quinn speaks at a fast-food workers' protest outside a McDonald's in New York in August. A nationwide movement is calling for raising the minimum hourly wage for fast-food workers to $15.
Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 4:48 pm
If you hit the drive-through, chances are that the cashier who rings you up or the cook who prepared your food relies on public assistance to make ends meet.
A new analysis finds that 52 percent of fast-food workers are enrolled in, or have their families enrolled in, one or more public assistance programs such as SNAP (food stamps) Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Losia Nyankale helps daughter Jonessa and son Juliean learn the alphabet. Nyankale, who works in a restaurant in Washington, D.C., says she needs food stamps and child-care subsidies to make ends meet.
Losia Nyankale, 29, didn't mean to make a career in the restaurant business. But after Nyankale was in college for two years, her mom lost her job as a schoolteacher and could no longer pay tuition. Then, Nyankale's temp jobs in bookkeeping dried up in the recession. So she went back to her standby — restaurant work.
"I did some kitchen work. The pantries or the salad station," she says. "I've also managed, supervised, wash[ed] dishes."
Rich Templin of the Florida AFL-CIO is fighting a bill in the state legislature that would ban county living-wage ordinances. The bill has already passed the House and a less sweeping version is moving through Senate committees.