More than half of fast-food workers’ families receive some sort of public assistance, costing the nation $7 billion a year, according to a new report distributed by a group that has been pushing for union representation and higher wages for fast-food workers.
Fast-food workers earn an average of $8.69 an hour, and often work fewer than 40 hours a week, qualifying them for food stamps, Medicaid and tax credits, according to the report, which was written by economists at the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Even before it was released publicly, the report raised the ire of some conservative groups that said it used faulty methodology to prove a point.
“In its quest to unionize the fast-food industry, the (Service Employees International Union) has demonstrated that it will leave no stone unturned — including using ‘research’ and arguments that would get a higher grade in creative writing than in a high school economics class,” said Michael Saltsman, research director at conservative think tank Employment Policies Institute, in a statement.
The report calculates that about $3.9 billion a year is spent on Medicaid and children’s health care for fast-food workers and their families. Families also receive $1.04 billion in food stamp benefits and $1.91 billion from the federal government through the earned income tax credit. Even those workers who are on a 40-hour-a-week schedule receive benefits; more than half of those families are enrolled in public assistance programs, the report says.
Wal-Mart ties small
stores to big ones
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to open more small stores as it links them to its supercenters, which will serve as mini-warehouses for their smaller cousins.
The plans, announced at the retailer’s annual analysts’ meeting, come as the world’s largest retailer aims to cut costs and respond to shoppers’ demands for convenience as it faces increasing pressure from expanding competition. That includes online retailers like Amazon.com as well as dollar stores, which have been rapidly adding locations and winning customers with low prices and easy access.
Wal-Mart expects to roll out the new distribution strategy in the first of three markets in March, though it declined to say where.
The retailer operates more than 4,000 stores in the U.S., most of them supercenters.
Apple to bring out
Apple is holding an event in San Francisco next week to announce new products — likely updated iPads.
The company announced its most recent iPads around this time last year. The announcement included a smaller version, called the Mini, for the first time.
New iPads would get Apple’s latest operating system for mobile devices, iOS 7. The invitation sent Tuesday includes a graphic that mimics the color scheme in iOS 7.