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McDonald's Worker's Unsettling Story: What does 20 years of service at the restaurant get you?

Posted by on Dec. 13, 2012 at 1:49 PM
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McDonald's Worker's Unsettling Story

What does 20 years of service at the restaurant get you? Tyree is one of the few who has the answer -- and it's disturbing.

McDonald's Server Would Have To Work 550 Years To Earn CEO's Pay

Tyree Johnson, McDonalds worker

In a stirring Bloomberg BusinessWeek article, Leslie Patton tells the story of one McDonald's employee. His name is Tyree Johnson. The 44-year-old has worked at the fast food chain for two decades, yet still makes just $8.25 an hour, and doesn't get 40 hours a week of work. So Johnson has jobs at two Chicago McDonald's, scrubbing himself down in the bathroom between shifts, because he may be denied a raise if he smells bad. Twice a month he goes to church food pantries to stock up on cereal, soup and powdered milk.

Johnson would have to work for 1.1 million hours to earn the $8.8 million that McDonald's CEO James Skinner was paid last year. If he worked for 40 hours a week, every week of the year, that would take five centuries.

Retail And Fast Food: Fast-Growing Industries
Opportunity is bright, profits are soaring, and the jobs are horribly paid. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, retail sales employed 4.5 million Americans in 2010, and fast food restaurants employed 2.1 million. The annual salaries for these jobs are $20,990 and $18,070, respectively. And these are no longer part-time jobs for teenagers; the vast majority of workers are in their 20s and older, and many of them are raising families.

Employers Are Organized To Keep Wages Low
The service industry, unlike manufacturing, has very little history of its workers organizing to demand better pay or hours. Restaurant chains, on the other hand, are very organized at keeping pay down. As Patton points out, restaurant chains and their franchisees spent at least $960,000 to fight minimum-wage increases in six states in 2006.

Income Inequality Widens
Between 1978 and 2011, worker compensation grew by 5.7 percent, according to an analysis by the the Economic Policy Institute, a think tank that advocates for lower-wage workers. In the same period, CEO compensation ballooned by 725 percent.

Below is a list of 11 of the biggest fast food and retail chains, along with how long an average low-level employee would need to work to make the amount his or her CEO took home last year. It seems the annual worth of one CEO is now equal to many other human beings' lifetimes.

CEO compensation data are from the companies' most recent Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Average employee salaries are from Glassdoor.com. The number of years it would take an employee to earn the CEO's compensation is based on working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year.
by on Dec. 13, 2012 at 1:49 PM
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Replies (1-10):
annabl1970
by Platinum Member on Dec. 13, 2012 at 1:50 PM

11. DUNKIN' BRANDS

CEO Nigel Travis' total compensation: $2.0 million

Crew member: $7.83 an hour

How long a crew member would have to work to make CEO annual pay: 250,000 hours or 120 years

annabl1970
by Platinum Member on Dec. 13, 2012 at 1:50 PM

10. PAPA JOHN'S

CEO John Schnatter's total compensation: $2.7 million.

Average delivery driver salary: $7.19 an hour.

How long a crew member would have to work to make CEO annual pay: 382,000 hours or 184 years.

annabl1970
by Platinum Member on Dec. 13, 2012 at 1:50 PM

9. DOLLAR GENERAL

CEO Richard Dreiling's total compensation: $3,832,000.

Average sales associate salary: $7.62 an hour.

How long a crew member would have to work to make CEO annual pay: 503,000 hours or 242 years

annabl1970
by Platinum Member on Dec. 13, 2012 at 1:50 PM

8. BEST BUY

CEO Brian Dunn's total compensation: $7.1 million.

Average sales associate salary: $9.73 an hour.

How long a crew member would have to work to make CEO annual pay: 730,000 hours or 350 years

annabl1970
by Platinum Member on Dec. 13, 2012 at 1:50 PM

7. HOME DEPOT

CEO Francis Blake's total compensation: $10.8 million.

Average sales associate salary: $11.47.

How long a crew member would have to work to make CEO annual pay: 941,000 hours or 452 years

annabl1970
by Platinum Member on Dec. 13, 2012 at 1:51 PM

6. MCDONALD'S

CEO James Skinner's total compensation: $8.8 million.

Average crew member salary: $7.65 an hour.

How long a crew member would have to work to make CEO annual pay: 1.1 million hours or 550 years.

annabl1970
by Platinum Member on Dec. 13, 2012 at 1:51 PM

5. CVS CAREMARK CORPORATION

CEO Larry Merlo's: $11.4.

Average cashier salary: $8.86 an hour.

How long a crew member would have to work to make CEO annual pay: 1.3 million hours or 619 years

annabl1970
by Platinum Member on Dec. 13, 2012 at 1:51 PM

4. WALMART

CEO Michael Duke's total compensation: $18.1 million.

Average sales associate salary: $8.84 an hour.

How long a crew member would have to work to make CEO annual pay: 2.1 million hours or 986 years

annabl1970
by Platinum Member on Dec. 13, 2012 at 1:51 PM

3. WENDY'S

CEO Roland Smith's total compensation: $16.5 million.

Average crew member salary: $7.66 an hour.

How long a crew member would have to work to make CEO annual pay: 2.2 million hours or 1038 years.

annabl1970
by Platinum Member on Dec. 13, 2012 at 1:52 PM

2. TARGET

CEO Gregg Steinhafel's total compensation: $19.7 million..

Sales floor team member: $8.29.

How long a crew member would have to work to make CEO annual pay: 2.4 million hours or 1,143 years

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