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Public assistance
Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:16pm
Fri Jun 12

Report: Low Wages In Full-Service Restaurant Industry Cost Taxpayers $9.4 Billion Annually

Many full-service restaurant industry workers are forced to seek public aid to supplement their low wages and lack of benefits, and that leaves U.S. taxpayers with a $9.4 billion tab each year.

That's according to a recent report by Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC). The restaurant worker advocacy group found that nearly half of the more than 4 million full-service restaurant workers live in households enrolled in at least one public assistance program.

Of that $9.4 billion, $1.4 billion represents the public cost of low-end pay and benefits provided at the country's five largest full-service restaurant companies, which collectively earned $704 million in profits and paid their chief executives $27 million in the last year alone, according to ROC.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
1:41pm
Fri May 8

Report: Despite Walmart's Pay Hike, Employee Wages Will Still Cost Taxpayers Money

Even though Walmart has moved to increase employee wages, new data shows that the company's workers will still cost U.S. taxpayers a pretty penny to make up for the dismal earnings they bring home from working for the retail giant.

Last year, Americans for Tax Fairness issued a report stating that U.S. taxpayers pick up a $6.2 billion tab annually to cover public aid expenses for Walmart workers earning low wages.

That report came months before Walmart announced in February that 500,000 of its full- and part-time U.S. workers would be getting a wage hike. The hourly minimum wage for Walmart employees went up to $9 in April and will increase to $10 by February 2016.

In light of Walmart's new wage policy, Americans for Tax Fairness re-examined the taxpayer subsidy issue.

"Even after Walmart's planned wage increases are fully implemented, large taxpayer subsidies will still be required to compensate for Walmart's low wages," the group concludes in its newest report.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:20pm
Thu Jul 10, 2014

Report: Give Tipped Workers The Regular Minimum Wage

Millions of tipped workers in the United States who face high poverty rates and other challenges would fare better if they earned the same government-mandated hourly minimum wage as non-tipped employees, according to a new Economic Policy Institute report. Progress Illinois takes a look at the report's findings and recommendations.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:21pm
Tue Jun 17, 2014

Report: Walmart Received $104 Million Taxpayer Subsidy For Executive Pay

recent report reveals that Walmart raked in taxpayer subsidies totaling $104 million for its executive pay over the past six years at the same time many of the retailer'slowest-paid workers have had to rely on public assistance to meet their basic needs.

Taxpayers subsidized the pay for top Walmart officials due to what critics say is a loophole that allows unlimited corporate tax write-offs on performance-based compensation for executives.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
5:45pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Chicago Fast Food Workers Strike For Higher Wages On Global Day Of Action (VIDEO)

Chicago fast food workers hit the picket lines Thursday as part of a massive, worldwide day of strikes for higher wages and the right to form a union without retaliation. Progress Illinois provides a snapshot of some of the day's protests.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
1:22pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Report Sheds Light On Taxpayer Subsidies For Restaurant CEO Pay

Some of the largest corporate members of the National Restaurant Association have pulled in hefty taxpayer subsidies for CEO pay at the same time the industry lobbying group has advocated against measures to increase the minimum wage for workers, a recent report from the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Policy Studies shows. Progress Illinois takes a look at the report's findings.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
10:42am
Fri Dec 20, 2013

New Report Sheds Light On Taxpayer Subsidies For Fast Food CEO Pay

recent report from the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) reveals that fast food companies have been pulling in large taxpayer subsidies for CEO pay at the same time many of the firms' lowest-paid workers have had to rely on public assistance to help cover their basic needs.

Taxpayers have been subsidizing CEO pay for fast food companies and other firms due to a loophole that allows unlimited corporate tax write-offs on performance-based compensation for top executives.

From 2011 through 2012, CEOs of the top six publicly held fast food companies, including McDonald's, Yum! Brands, Wendy's, Burger King, Domino's and Dunkin' Brands, hauled in a collective $183 million in fully deductible performance pay, which comes out to be a total tax break valued at $64 million, according to the report.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:16pm
Thu Dec 5, 2013

Chicago Fast Food, Retail Workers Walk Off The Job, Take Part In 100-City Strike (VIDEO)

A few hundred Chicago fast food and retail workers walked off the job Thursday as part of a national day of strikes for higher wages and the right to form a union without retaliation. Progress Illinois provides a snapshot of some of the day's protests.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:25pm
Thu Nov 21, 2013

Walmart Workers To Hold 1,500 National Black Friday Protests

Walmart workers and their supporters plan to hold 1,500 protests nationwide against the mega retailer on Black Friday, including actions in Illinois, members of OUR Walmart announced on a conference call with reporters Thursday.

Organizers with OUR Walmart, a group that formed two years ago and is connected to the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, are anticipating an even bigger turnout than last year's Black Friday protests, which were attended by some 30,000 people at 1,000 Walmart stores in 46 states.

“Black Friday 2013 will mark a turning point in American history,” said Dorian Warren, an expert on labor politics and an associate professor at Columbia University. “Fifteen hundred protests against Walmart is unprecedented. Working families are fighting back like never before, and have the support of America behind them."