Self-described socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) lauded fast-food workers for standing up against their “starvation wages” in protests in pockets of the country this week.
Workers are demanding as much of a doubling of their current rate to $15 per hour to flip burgers and ring up milkshakes.
Sanders cheered in a floor speech yesterday “hundreds and hundreds of young people throughout the country who are standing up for justice, who are putting a spotlight on one of the major economic crises facing this country.”
“What they are saying is workers cannot make it on $7.25 an hour, $7.50 an hour. Often they are unable to get 40 hours of work and in most cases they get no or very limited benefits,” Sanders added. “What they are saying is we need to raise the minimum wage in this country.”
The senator called the argument that raising the minimum wage would lead to fewer jobs “bogus” because Vermont has the third-highest minimum wage in the country at $8.60 an hour and only 4.4 percent unemployment, the fourth lowest jobless rate in the United States.
Sanders also decried the wages of fast-food executives, including Burger King CEO Bernardo Hees, who rakes in $6.5 million a year.
He also singled McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson for making $13.8 million and David Novak, who oversees Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken, for receiving more than $44 million in stock options last year.
“If the company has enough money to give this gentleman $44 million in stock options then maybe we can end starvation wages at Yum Foods,” Sanders said. “If Mr. Thompson can make $13.8 million as the head of McDonald’s, surely the workers at McDonald’s can make at least $10 an hour.”
Sanders is co-sponsor of legislation to bring the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, up from $7.25.