In the News

Shareholder activists on Monday called for the board of McDonald’s to cut the wage of chief executive Donald Thomson, citing poor performance and the massive gap between his wages and the average fast-food worker. The fast-food giant holds its annual meeting on 22 May and will be targeted by protesters calling for a higher wages for workers as well as shareholders disappointed with the company’s financial performance and Thomson’s remuneration. Change to Win (CtW) Investment Group is organising a vote against Thomson, who took over as CEO in 2012.

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On a crisp and sunny morning on the day after Thanksgiving, a group of protesters gathered in front of a large Walmart in Michigan’s Sterling Heights, calling for wage increases and better working conditions for the superstore's employees. Mary Johnson, a retiree and member of international activist group the Raging Grannies, stood next to Dan Lombardo, a plumber wearing old-fashioned overalls, who was carrying a sign stating “Walmart equals poverty.” Mothering Justice founder Danielle Atkinson, in a vibrant purple coat, turned up with her entire family.

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A grand canyon of inequality exists between fast food CEOs and the workers who make their corporate and personal fortunes. In the past decade, fast-food CEOs’ wages have increased more than 400 percent, while workers wages increased 0.3 percent, according to a new report by Demos.

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Here's a quick question about your retirement savings: When was the last time you checked the fees on your 401(k)?

If you're like most Americans, chances are you're not sure what exactly your plan is charging you. Even though employers are now required to disclose more information about 401(k) fees, only about half of workers said they actually noticed the data, while just 14 percent made changes after reviewing the information, according to a 2013 study from the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

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Bad enough that the empty calories of many a fast-food meal have all the nutritional value of a fingernail paring. Even worse, the vast profits this industry pulls in are lining the pockets of its CEOs while many of those who work in the kitchens and behind the counters are struggling to eke out a living and can’t afford a decent meal, much less a fast one.

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We have many reasons to be grateful to Thomas Piketty. His justly celebrated book makes it impossible to deny that the concentration of income and wealth are again approaching Gilded Age levels, far beyond what is required for incentive and efficiency. For the past 15 years, Piketty and his colleagues have put together the most comprehensive data set on inequality ever assembled. Now, in Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Piketty addresses his subject as a well-educated intellectual, not a myopic number-cruncher.

If you want a glimpse of super-sized pay inequality, look no further than America’s fast-food industry.

Nowhere is company-level pay disparity more apparent than in fast food, where CEOs reportedly take home $1,000 for every $1 earned by their typical employee.

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No less a capitalist than Henry Ford believed in paying his workforce enough so that the men who built his cars could buy his cars too. At McDonald’s, employees are encouraged to apply for food stamps if they aren’t making enough to eat.

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Domino’s Pizza boss J Patrick Doyle is getting too large a slice of the pie, shareholders will tell the company’s board at the fast food chain’s annual meeting on Tuesday.

The two largest shareholder advisory groups, ISS and Glass Lewis; CalSTRS, California’s $183bn teachers’ pension fund; and Change to Win investment group, which advises trade union-sponsored pension funds, have all voiced concerns about compensation at the pizza company ahead of Tuesday’s annual shareholder meeting in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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The American economy overall is ferociously unequal, but some sectors are more unequal than others. A new study from the left-leaning think tank Demos looked at CEO-to-worker compensation ratios across the labor force in an attempt to determine where inequality is most concentrated. The answer probably won’t surprise you.

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