WXXI Local Stories
Wed October 16, 2013
Local Senator Says Low Paid Fast Food Workers Cost Taxpayers
A Rochester area state senator is joining local activists in calling on fast food chains to raise the pay of their employees.
Senator Ted O'Brien referred to a recent study by UC Berkeley showing that New York taxpayers pay $708 million dollars a year to cover the costs of public assistance that fast food workers need to get by. “Not only is paying higher wages in national chain fast food venues fairer to those workers, but it’s also fairer to taxpayers who otherwise pay higher public assistance support in programs like food stamps and the supplemental nutrition assistance program and others.”
Fast food workers went on strike in 60 cities around the country in August, calling for higher wages so they don't have to reply on public assistance to put food on their own table.
O'Brien said the recent increase in the state's minimum wage, which will be $9 over the next two years, still isn't high enough, even for those who work 40 hours a week.
O'Brien said he supports the proposal in Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.