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STUDY: Majority of Fast Food Workers Need Public Assistance

Millions of Americans are working at fast food restaurants. But a new study says they're not making enough to get by on their own.
Millions of Americans are working at fast food restaurants.  But a new study says they're not making enough to get by on their own.

Protests from New York to LA have popped up across the country since last fall.

Fast food workers, calling for higher pay and the right to organize without retaliation.

And today, more fuel to the fire, a new study from University of California and Illinois says more than half of fast food workers rely on the government for help.

52-percent get medicaid, food stamps, earned income tax credit, or rely on a program known as temporary assistance for needy families.

Compare that to workforce as a whole, where 25-percent of families get assistance.

Shenita Simon is a fast food worker from New York City and says she has to make tough choices.

"Sometimes my husband eat and I don't. Or sometimes I eat and my husband don't," says Simon.  "You know.  We have to alternate like that because we can't eat every day and still supply for our children three meals per day."

The average fast food worker makes $18,800 a year.

And the study says the median fast food worker works 30-hours a week.

Only 13-percent get health benefits, compared to 59-percent of the overall workforce.

But the National Restaurant Association calls the study misleading and says it uses a "very narrow lens and selective data to attack the industry... and fails to recognize that the majority of lower-wage employees work part-time to supplement a family income."

The group also says restaurants provide millions of jobs, and a chance to move up... Because most restaurant owners actually started in entry-level positions.

(Zain Asher, CNN)

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