A fast food restaurant worker earns about $19,000 a year. That’s only if she earns $9 an hour and works full time.
The average CEO of a fast food restaurant chain pulls in $23.8 million a year, according to a study published today. That’s more than $11,400 an hour.
According to the study published by Demos, a liberal think tank, compensation of fast food CEOs has been well over 1,000 times the earnings of the average fast food worker for the last two years.
The average is distorted by the annual earnings of Starbucks' CEO, which in 2013 was $137.8 million. A more representative number is about $12.5 million a year. The head of McDonalds, for instance, raked in $10.9 million in 2013 - a mere $5,240 an hour, assuming an eight hour work day and 260 work days a year.
For Pennsylvania Democrats, who have been demanding that the state minimum wage be raised from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, the study could not have come at a better time.
“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,” said St. Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione of Philadelphia in a statement. “Clearly, it would be very affordable in the fast food industry.”
Pennsylvania is one of the last states in the Northeast to adopt a higher minimum wage, she said. Tartaglione has proposed slowly increasing the minimum to $10.10 an hour by 2016.
In New Jersey, the state minimum wage increased from $7.25 to $8.25 in January after being overwhelmingly approved by voters.
Fast food workers are among the lowest paid in the United States, making less than gas station cashiers and retail sales associates.
A recent analysis by economists at the University of Illinois and the University of California, reported that 87 percent of fast food workers do not receive health benefits. It's the American taxpayer who is stuck with that tab. Half of the fast food work force is enrolled in public assistance programs at a cost of $7 billion per year.
Contact Sam Wood at 215-854-2796 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @samwoodiii on Twitter.
Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.