These 3 Companies Should Start Paying a Bad Boss Tax Now

mcd

Early last week the Internet was abuzz with a new, but clever concept called the “bad boss tax.”

Conceptualized by TakeAction Minnesota, the bad boss tax would impose a fine on billion-dollar corporations with employees that rely on government assistance.

While the future of the bad boss tax is uncertain, the number of employers paying wages so low that they inadvertently shift the financial burden to taxpayers is extensive.

Below, we’ve compiled the top three “Bad Bosses” below.

McDonald’s

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fast food workers, on  average, make about $18,880 a year. According to the living wage calculator, that’s barely enough to keep one person from poverty, let alone a family.

What’s more, many McDonald’s workers report to only making the minimum wage, as low as $7.25. That number, compared to the CEO’s $13.8 million compensation is one of the many reasons why McDonald’s landed on the list.

Worker pay at the Golden Arches, due in part to franchising, is varied. But one thing is for sure, across the board employees are fed up. Yesterday the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that McDonald’s could be accountable for the string of low wage lawsuits that it’s been slammed with in the past year.

The past year has been rocky for the billion-dollar corporation. Protests over low pay, the right to unionize and unfair treatment have been brewing for months and in May workers across the world banded together for a global protest. Additionally, workers protested in front of the fast food giant’s corporate headquarters during the annual shareholders meeting.

Walmart

On average, workers at Walmart are paid $8.81 an hour. An employee working 34 hours a week only makes $15,576 annually, far below the federal poverty line for a family of two or more. Keep in mind that Walmart CEO compensation was estimated to be around $20.7 million while revenue is nearly $500 billion.

Perhaps as a direct result, it was recently reported that Walmart’s low wages are costing taxpayers nearly $6.2 billion for public assistance services such as Medicaid, food stamps and housing. That means that one of America’s most profitable businesses relies on taxpayers to support their employees.

YUM! Brands

Low wages run rampant at YUM!, the owner of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, with many workers making less than $8 an hour. Aside from it being an unlivable wage no matter where you’re from, YUM! has about 900,000 employees, many of whom need to have their wages subsidized by hard working, middle-class taxpayers.

Despite its CEO (name?) making $14.2 million (over what year) and its employees making poverty level wages, YUM! isn’t shy about its opposition to raising the minimum wage. On several occasions the fast food giant has lobbied to keep the minimum wage where it is, despite its CEO making 1,000 more than many of his employees.

Photo courtesy of Mike Mozart via Flickr.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Two More Cities Pass Paid Sick Days Laws, But ALEC Looks to Strike Back: Punching In

That pen is getting a workout

President Obama will issue an executive order to improve federal contractor workplaces.

ALEC vs. people who don’t want to go to work sick

San Diego and Eugene, OR pass paid sick days laws, ALEC looks to push back.

Remember, Wall Street wants to defund this agency

Thanks to the CFPB, lender that preyed on military families must leave the business for good.

Republican Senators filibuster Bring Jobs Home Act

Bill would have limited tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.

I Want A Union With That: Punching In

A blow to Ronald and the gang

The NLRB ruled that McDonald’s could be considered a joint employer, potentially leaving the corporation accountable for the series of low wage lawsuit its franchises have seen.

Additionally, the joint employer status could make it easier for employees to unionize. Awesome.

Good news for the economy

The GDP grew at 4 percent during the second quarter, surpassing the estimated 3.1 percent growth.

The more you know

Don’t be fooled. Corporate inversion is yet another, poorly disguised tax loophole. Let’s close it.

Not the Tea Party you were expecting

Leaked documents: Major Tea Party group FreedomWorks funded by Swiss businessman, cancer treatment centers.

Breakthrough bill in San Francisco

First ever Retail Workers Bill of Rights will introduced in San Francisco.

Laying out the un-welcome mat for ALEC

How the people of Dallas are greeting ALEC as they arrival for their annual national convention.

Good News for All Americans in Social Security, Medicare Reports

Photo via the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare

The annual reports from the Social Security and Medicare Trustees released today “have good news for all Americans,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

Social Security and Medicare will be there for us and our families if elected leaders listen to the American people and reject calls to cut benefits. Instead of undermining these crucial programs, we must build on their success and adopt measures to strengthen and expand them.

Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, said the most important lesson from the Social Security report “is that Social Security has a large and growing surplus. Today’s report projects Social Security’s cumulative surplus to be roughly $2.8 trillion in 2014, growing to about $2.9 trillion around 2020.

Trumka noted that while “America’s most important retirement program” will remain strong for many more years to come:

It has become increasingly clear, however, that strengthening Social Security for the future must include improvements in benefits. Social Security remains the sole retirement income plan that is broadly available and that Americans can count on to provide secure lifetime benefits.

The Medicare report, Fiesta said, “reminds us once again that the Affordable Care Act is controlling health care costs.” He said:

It is great news that the life of the Medicare Trust Fund has been extended by another four years to 2030. Attempts to repeal health care reform would only undo the progress we have made in controlling health care costs.

The Social Security Trustees reported once again that the Disability Trust Fund can pay full benefits until 2016, with enough revenue after that time to cover about 80% of promised benefits. Trumka said:

Congress should act soon to ensure disabled workers and their families will continue to receive the benefits they have earned.  This can be done by allocating a larger share of current payroll tax contributions to the Disability program, as has been done many times before. Congress should reject calls to misuse this opportunity to undermine the sole source of disability income protection that is working well for America’s families.

Fiesta warned:

Current and future retirees must be wary of those politicians who will use today’s Social Security and Medicare Trustees reports as political cover for radical changes that would put seniors, the disabled and the families of deceased workers at risk.

Read Trumka’s full statement here and Fiesta’s here.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

Tags: , , , , , ,

300,000 More People Just Got Paid Sick Days

Photo courtesy Allan Ferguson on Flickr

Yesterday, the United States became a little bit better place to be a sick worker, as two more cities joined the growing wave of localities that have passed paid sick days laws. The city councils in San Diego and Eugene, Ore., each voted to require employers to make sure that workers don’t have to choose between working sick and losing pay. Nine cities and the state of Connecticut now have paid sick leave laws.

The San Diego City Council passed their measure 6–3 and it heads to Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who has said he would veto it. The council has the votes to override the veto, however. The law would provide full-time workers up to five earned sick days annually, with part-time workers getting a portion of that. In Eugene, the vote was 5–3. The bill would provide one hour of paid sick leave for 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours a year.

Ellen Bravo, executive director of Family Values @ Work, said the day was historic:

Campaigns for paid sick days in Eugene and San Diego involved months of organizing by local workers, small business owners and many partner organizations. Yesterday, their work paid off: No longer will workers in Eugene and San Diego be forced to choose between the job they need and the family who needs them.

Biviana Lagunas, a San Diego State University student and part-time low-wage worker in San Diego, said the new law will be a life-changer:

The passing of this measure means my mother will no longer have to choose between a day’s wages and caring for my little brother when he’s sick. Right now, I work to pay for school and make sure my family can keep up with the rent. Now, my sister and I can use more of our time to study instead of stressing about how our family will get by.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Let’s Call ‘Corporate Inversion’ for What It Is: A Gaping, Unpatriotic Tax Loophole

This post originally appeared on Huffington Post

In 2004, Congress enacted a law to prevent “corporate inversions” in which corporations reincorporate in a foreign country to avoid paying U.S. taxes, but a gaping loophole allows corporations to get around this law by merging with a foreign company.

Simply put, it allows corporations to avoid paying taxes when they “renounce their U.S. citizenship” and change their corporate address to a foreign country.

In recent months, several large corporations have announced plans to exploit this loophole, with minimal change in their business operations, to avoid paying taxes. This wave of “corporate inversions” threatens to hollow out the U.S. corporate income tax base.

One striking example is Walgreens, the nation’s largest drugstore chain, which may use an upcoming acquisition to become a foreign company in order to dodge more than $4 billion in taxes over five years. Walgreens is talking about abandoning America despite its reliance on the U.S. government — and U.S. taxpayers — for a quarter of its revenue paid for by the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

It’s time for Congress to close the loophole and end this outrageous practice.

Last week, I was encouraged to see Congress finally begin to hold hearings and to hear President Barack Obama double down on his support. Under the president’s leadership, the administration is taking the right approach and has proposed solutions to the problem.

This week, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew in the Washington Post was right to suggest Congress make this legislation retroactive to May 2014, so corporations have notice that any transactions taking place after that date will not allow them to dodge taxes.

“This inversion loophole must be plugged,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) recently said, and Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) have both proposed legislation to plug it.

This is exactly the momentum we need to close the loophole once and for all.

The real problem is that many of these so-called “U.S.” corporations want to keep dictating our economic policies and dominating our politics, yet they have less and less loyalty to the people who actually live and work in America. They want to keep benefiting from all the things our government does for them so they can make profits — our legal system to protect their investments and patents, our education and training system to train their workers, our transportation system to get their products to market, our federally sponsored research, our military — but they want the rest of us to front their share of the bill.
Sixty years ago corporations paid one-third of federal revenues, but today they pay only one-tenth. Now they say even that’s too much. Corporate profits are at their highest ever and wage growth is near its lowest in half a century, but still these corporations are not satisfied. They want more. They want Congress to cut their income tax rate, even though many of the largest corporations get away with paying little or no taxes for years. They want Congress to eliminate taxes on the factories they ship overseas, even though an existing loophole already allows them to lower their tax bill when they outsource jobs. And if we don’t give these corporations what they want, they threaten to renounce their citizenship and stop paying U.S. taxes altogether.
We need to start demanding a little more patriotism from these corporations. If they want to keep benefiting from everything our great country has to offer, they need to start showing a little more loyalty to the people who live and work in America. And they need to stop threatening to desert the United States and stop paying their taxes altogether unless America gives in to their demands.

Follow Richard Trumka on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RichardTrumka

Tags: , , , , , ,

What’s Big, Stormy, and Could Cost Us $150 Billion Every Year? Punching In

Into the (economic) storm

Report: Delaying climate change policies could cost U.S. economy $150 billion every year.

Fighting fire with fire

Katrina vanden Heuvel on building a progressive alternative to ALEC.

“There is value is redefining what tens of thousands of these workers are doing”

Rep. Keith Ellison will introduce a bill Wednesday making union organizing a civil right.

Debunking myths about fast food advancement

She makes $7.35 an hour at McDonald’s. She’s been there for ten years.

We Love How This ‘Frozen’ Star Sang About the Minimum Wage. But There Are 3 Problems With It.

blog_poppins

Kristen Bell, the voice of Princess Anna in the blockbuster Disney hit ‘Frozen’ and dozens of other films, put on a different costume this week to talk about something you wouldn’t expect.

Fans of the humor website Funny or Die were surprised to find a new video of Bell portraying Mary Poppins, the famous fictional British governess. In the video, she is telling her two young wards that she has to quit. Why? She makes minimum wage, and it’s not enough to live on.

“Just a three dollar increase can make a living wage,” she sings to the children. She goes onto use all of Mary Poppins’ tricks and tools–little birds, penguins, and so on–to explain how low wages hurt families, businesses, and consumers alike.

Don’t get us wrong: We love this video, and anything that brings this issue to a broader audience helps in our campaign for fair wages.

But unfortunately, Minimum Wage Mary Poppins is not quite accurate when she says an increase to $10.10, as proposed by Democrats and blocked by Republicans in the Senate earlier this year, would constitute a living wage for most Americans:

$10.10 doesn’t keep up with cost of goods. According to the Economic Policy Institute, increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 would lift millions out of poverty, but it would still not reach the level it would be if the minimum wage had kept up with inflation since 1968, and would not come close what the minimum wage would be if it had increased with worker productivity.

Real value of the federal minimum wage, 1968–2013 and 2013–2016 under proposed increase to $10.10 by 2016, compared with its value had it grown at the rate of productivity or average worker wages (2013 dollars)

For most Americans, $10.10 doesn’t keep up with the cost of living. While the cost of living varies depending on where you live, $10.10 an hour doesn’t constitute a “living wage” in most areas, particularly if you have one or more dependents.

For example, according to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, a single adult can survive in Arkansas on $7.86 an hour, which is still higher than the current minimum wage in Arkansas, $7.25. However, add a kid into the mix, and that shoots up to $16.37.

In a more expensive area like the District of Columbia, a single adult needs a living wage of $13.65, which nearly doubles with the addition of one child.

All this assumes a 40 hour work week. Think those numbers from MIT look bleak? Well, they are actually extremely optimistic, because they assume the adults in question are working 2,080 hours a year, or 40 hours a week for 52 weeks.

First off, no one should have to work 8 hours a day every single day of the year with no days off. Not only is that inhumane, it ignores events like sickness, family emergencies, and any other of the infinite problems that might keep someone from their 8-hour work day

Second of all, and perhaps less obvious, is that the majority of low-wage workers aren’t getting scheduled for close to 40 hours a week. Not in their dreams.

We talk to hundreds of people every night, many of them retail and service workers, and a consistent theme we hear is that schedules are erratic, unpredictable, and insufficient.

Sometimes it’s because managers don’t want workers to exceed the number of hours that would require them to provide health care. Sometimes it’s an issue of favoritism or retaliation, where a manager will assign a better or worse schedule based on how they feel about an employee. And if you take a second part-time job, you have no assurance that the two schedules will line up, or that you’d be able to juggle the demands of two jobs as they constantly change.

Lastly, thank you Kristen Bell. Despite these few omissions, your collaboration with Funny or Die is hilarious, clever, and shines a bright spotlight on an issue that’s too often overlooked.

For the first time in forever, we have a Disney song that helps the economic facts go down.

To join Working America’s fight for fair wages, text RAISE to 30644.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Paul Ryan’s At It Again With A New Poverty Plan: Punching In

Missing the mark

Paul Ryan’s poverty plan is all wrong.

Call ‘em out

Obama calls out companies for overseas tax loopholes.

Key Quote: “I don’t care if it’s legal — it’s wrong,” Obama said.

Did you want another protest with that?

Following the global protests, fast food workers are meeting in Chicago today to plan their next move.

Trend: This Is How Women Are Standing Up Against Low Wages

nanny

It’s no secret that more and more women are staking their claim in the work world. Although women make up a large portion of the workforce, a disproportionate number of them are low-wage workers and problems with fair working conditions persist.

Things like wage theft, the absence of a work/ life balance, unfair schedules and more plague women working in low-wage professions.

But increasingly, these female dominated industries are fighting back, organizing and creating change.

NFL cheerleaders

For the past 8 months, cheerleaders from three NFL teams have begun to speak out against unfair treatment both on and off the field. Grievances ranged from low wages, to wage theft to outright demeaning requests.

Despite the poor working conditions, there have been some glimmers of hope in the form of worker-led organization. Back in May a former dancer called for the unionization of the cheerleaders as a possible remedy to the low wages and unfair conditions that plague the work, and since then the Oakland Raiders have made the decision to finally pay dancers the minimum wage in addition to paying them for work-related events.

Hotel workers

The most dangerous job in the service industry is that of a hotel housekeeper, a role primarily held by women workers.  Many of these workers endure unrealistic work expectations and low pay.

Back in 2013, a group of Albuquerque hotel workers approached the New Mexico arm of Working America because they felt that they weren’t being fairly compensated for cleaning rooms. At the time the workers claimed that they were being paid $3.25 per room, instead of the city-wide minimum wage of $8.50.

The DOL then launched a formal investigation and found that the hotel was indeed paying workers below both the city and Federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

That investigation has prompted fairer wages and policies for workers.

Domestic workers

Women represent 95% of domestic workers, which comprises child and homecare jobs, but across the nation 23% of these workers are paid less than the state minimum wage.

What’s more, it seems that many in-home child care workers aren’t given breaks and are forced to work long, strenuous hours.

But recent victories in California, Massachusetts and New York point to greater rights for this group of workers.

Most recently, a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights was passed in Massachusetts. The bill gives workers proper breaks, unpaid sick days, and clarifies working hours. Similar bills have been passed in California and New York.

Photo courtesy of Herald Post via Flickr.

Tags: , , , , ,