“If you don’t like it, leave” is the oft-given reply to worker complaints. But it’s hardly that simple. Considering that 2012 saw a continuation of some of the worst unemployment rates in decades, there’s rarely anywhere else to go. Additionally, fast-food jobs are no longer the domain of high-school kids. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the average age of industry workers is 28, and for women in particular, it’s 32.
Annette Bernhardt, policy codirector for the National Employment Law Project, explained to The Atlantic, “Increasingly working families are depending on this industry, and unless we confront the serious problem of low wages in the fast food industry, we’re not going to solve the job quality problem for the labor market as a whole.”
With about seven out of 10 growth occupations over the next decade expected to be in low-wage fields, there are few opportunities for workers to break the cycle of “working poor.”
On the other hand, McDonald’s saw its profits increase 130-percent over the last four fiscal years. With its army of workers earning little money and even less in benefits, it’s easy to see why.
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