Those big companies are doing just fine, post-recession. The National Employment Law Project took a look at the top 50 low-wage employers and found that:
We're talking Walmart, Yum! Brands (aka Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut), and McDonald's, Target and Abercrombie & Fitch, Darden Restaurants (aka Olive Garden and Red Lobster). More than half of all low-wage jobs were in just five industries in 2011: food services; accommodation; retail; arts, entertainment, and recreation; and administrative services. That's even though those industries account for only a third of overall private sector employment. Of course, while these corporations believe in low wages at the bottom, that doesn't extend to the top:
- 92 percent were profitable last year
- 78 percent were profitable for the past three years
- 75 percent are earning higher revenue now than before the recession
- 63 percent are earning higher profits now than before the recession
They also don't stint on lobbying money. In 2011, Walmart spent $7.8 million on lobbying. McDonald's spent $1.5 million.
- In the most recent fiscal year, the top-paid executive at each of these 50 companies was awarded an average $9.4 million in compensation—even as many of their employees are paid at or near the minimum wage (just over $15,000 per year).
- The top 50 low-wage employers have distributed $174.8 billion in dividend payments and share buybacks to their stock holders over the past five fiscal years.
Still think it's small business that leads the fight to keep low-wage workers poor?