No 7-Eleven

Resisting Chain Stores and Corporate Control

Fast-Food CEOs Earn Supersize Salaries; Workers Earn Small Potatoes

Fast Food Fat CatsVia NPR

At a time when fast-food workers make an average of about $9 an hour, what are the chief executives bringing home?

According to a new report, YUM! (owner of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut) compensated its CEO $22 million in 2013.

Chipotle’s CEO took home $13.8 million in total compensation. And McDonald’s CEO compensation totaled $7.7 million. (Compensation includes salary, bonus and the value of exercised options.)

Overall, the average compensation of fast-food CEOs has quadrupled since 2000. The figures in the report are based on data from Standard & Poor’s ExecuComp database and company proxy statements.

The report, by the public policy group Demos, concludes the fast-food industry has the most extreme pay disparity of all the sectors in the U.S. economy, with a CEO-to-worker pay ratio now exceeding 1,000 to 1.

By comparison, the ratio in the retail sector is about 304 to 1, meaning the CEOs in this sector make about 304 times the income of the average worker. And construction company CEOs make about 93 times that of the average worker.

In the years since the recession ended, “fast food firms have exhibited spectacular growth in CEO compensation, while wages for their front-line workforce actually declined,” the report concludes.

“Rising pay inequality has dire consequences for workers in New York City and beyond,” said Scott Stringer, the New York City comptroller who joined a conference call to release the findings. “I am also concerned with the impact of pay disparity on the city’s pension funds, which have long recognized that excessive pay disparities pose a risk to share owner value.”

Continue reading Fast-Food CEOs Earn Supersize Salaries; Workers Earn Small Potatoes [NPR]

Payroll Cards Are Under Scrutiny by New York’s Attorney General

Payroll Cards Are Under Scrutiny by New York’s Attorney GeneralDealB%k/NY TIMES: Payroll Cards Are Under Scrutiny by New York’s Attorney General

New York’s top prosecutor is investigating some of the state’s largest employers over their use of A.T.M.-style cards to pay their hourly employees.

The New York attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, has sent letters seeking information to about 20 employers, including McDonald’s, Walgreen and Wal-Mart, say people briefed on the matter.

The inquiry by Mr. Schneiderman comes as a growing number of companies are abandoning paper paychecks and direct deposit to offer prepaid cards. But consumer lawyers, employees, and state and federal regulators have said that in the vast majority of cases, use of the cards can generate a range of fees — 50 cents for a balance inquiry and $2.25 for an out-of-network A.T.M. Those fees can quickly devour the pay of part-time and low-wage workers.

And many employees say that they have no alternative. Even at companies where there is a choice, it is often elusive. Worried about imperiling their jobs, some employees say they are terrified of requesting another option, according to interviews with consumer advocates. Other employees say that they are automatically enrolled in the payroll-card programs and forced to navigate a bureaucratic maze if they want to opt out.

Continue reading Payroll Cards Are Under Scrutiny by New York’s Attorney General

Paid via Card, Workers Feel Sting of Fees

Paid via Card, Workers Feel Sting of FeesNew York Times: Paid via Card, Workers Feel Sting of Fees

A growing number of American workers are confronting a frustrating predicament on payday: to get their wages, they must first pay a fee.

For these largely hourly workers, paper paychecks and even direct deposit have been replaced by prepaid cards issued by their employers. Employees can use these cards, which work like debit cards, at an A.T.M. to withdraw their pay.

But in the overwhelming majority of cases, using the card involves a fee. And those fees can quickly add up: one provider, for example, charges $1.75 to make a withdrawal from most A.T.M.’s, $2.95 for a paper statement and $6 to replace a card. Some users even have to pay $7 inactivity fees for not using their cards.

These fees can take such a big bite out of paychecks that some employees end up making less than the minimum wage once the charges are taken into account, according to interviews with consumer lawyers, employees, and state and federal regulators.

Devonte Yates, 21, who earns $7.25 an hour working a drive-through station at a McDonald’s in Milwaukee, says he spends $40 to $50 a month on fees associated with his JPMorgan Chase payroll card.

“It’s pretty bad,” he said. “There’s a fee for literally everything you do.”

Certain transactions with the Chase pay card are free, according to a fee schedule.

Many employees say they have no choice but to use the cards: some companies no longer offer common payroll options like ordinary checks or direct deposit.

At companies where there is a choice, it is often more in theory than in practice, according to interviews with employees, state regulators and consumer advocates. Employees say they are often automatically enrolled in the payroll card programs and confronted with a pile of paperwork if they want to opt out.

“We hear virtually every week from employees who never knew there were other options, and employers certainly don’t disabuse workers of that idea,” said Deyanira Del Rio, an associate director of the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project, which works with community groups in New York.

Taco Bell, Walgreen and Wal-Mart are among the dozens of well-known companies that offer prepaid cards to their workers; the cards are particularly popular with retailers and restaurants. And they are quickly gaining momentum. In 2012, $34 billion was loaded onto 4.6 million active payroll cards, according to the research firm Aite Group. Aite said it expected that to reach $68.9 billion and 10.8 million cards by 2017.

Continue reading Paid via Card, Workers Feel Sting of Fees