Fran works six days a week in fast food, and yet she’s homeless: ‘It’s economic slavery’
Despite working six days a week, Marion, 37, a single mother of two, can’t make ends meet on the $9.50 an hour she gets at Popeyes (no apostrophe – founder Al Copeland joked he was too poor to afford one). A fast food worker for 22 years, Marion has almost always had a second job. Until recently, she had been working 9am-4pm at Popeyes,
9 (Ah, 7, so it is) hours without a break is illegal. So, no, don’t believe it really.
She worries that all this pressure is bad for her – self-diagnosed – high blood pressure. Like 28 million other Americans, she doesn’t have health insurance. She hasn’t seen a doctor in her adult working life.
It’s also 41 hours a week, meaning she’s over the 30 hours for healthcare if she’s working for a large employer at least. Perhaps she’s working for a franchisee, who might not be covered by that legal requirement to offer health insurance. But then, of course, she’s not working for Popeyes, is she?
Oh, and, over 40 hours she’ll be getting time and half overtime. Even without that she’s on near $400 a week. Sure, not a huge sum but $21,000 a year is not economic slavery.
And, umm, no, she won’t be doing
54 (41, still unlikely) hours because employers really don’t like paying that sort of overtime.
As so often with these Guardian tales of woe they just don’t add up (yes,I get the amusement here, sigh).
Our other example:
Bridget and Demetrius are hardly doing better. She earns $9 an hour at Wendy’s, Demetrius makes $9.50 an hour working at a gas station. Rent and bills, including childcare, come to about $800 a month, and they are barely scraping by, living paycheck to paycheck.
Full time? That’s getting to $800 a week there. Rent and bills are 25% of household income? Including child care? Plenty of people would be very happy with those sorts of ratios.
The numbers just aren’t adding up, are they?
As ever when The Guardian presents us with these stories of poverty they just can’t seem to pay attention to the contradictions of the numbers they present us with.