If someone unfamiliar with the United States had seen the State of the Union last week, they might imagine a country with a robust economy filled with happy workers. In fact, while the economy is strongly rebounding and Wall Street profits have reached near-record highs, wage growth is stagnant.
One industry that has employed vast amounts of the 25 million U.S. minimum wage workers is fast food. Two economists from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst have found that fast food companies would be able to completely absorb a $15 per hour wage increase without limiting their profit margins.
For years, corporate CEOs have repeatedly used complex economic and business terms (justified or otherwise) to explain how salaries for upper-management and shareholder dividends have increased dramatically while their workers’ pay stays the same. We commend this report for giving credible, number-centric findings that show the injustice of continued wage stagnation.
Many college students can empathize, through past or current experiences, with these underpaid workers. But it’s not only part-time college students who make up minimum wage workers — over 13 million Americans paid less than $10.11 per hour were trying to support themselves in 2013.
When families are going hungry and houses are being foreclosed, when a child’s education must be put aside to pay for health costs and as single-parents working two — or even three — jobs still struggle to pay for the most basic human needs, and still wages stay the same, it’s time for companies to pay their fair share.
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