The fast food conglomerate Yum! Brands is one of the largest private employers in the United States, with nearly some half million workers, most of whom make near poverty-level wages. Which is why some workers at Yum! restaurants -- which include Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut -- joined a strike this week in Chicago. Fast-food workers in New York City staged a similar strike late last year, and also staged walkouts earlier this month.
Employers like Yum! Brands like to pretend that what they pay their workers is strictly a private matter determined by supply and demand. If workers don't like their wages, they can look elsewhere.
If fact, though, the wages paid by Yum! Brands are everyone's business. When the second largest private employer in the country underpays its workers, all taxpayers end up picking up the tab as those workers file for the EITC, get on Medicaid, apply for foodstamps, and use other forms of public assistance.