From Huff Po:
A New Jersey woman died earlier this week trying to catch a few hours of sleep between jobs, a chilling reminder of the struggle low-wage workers, particularly women, face making ends meet.
Police found Maria Fernandes dead in her car on Monday night, parked in a convenience-store parking lot in Elizabeth, N.J., according to a police press release. Fernandes, 32, was wearing a Dunkin’ Donuts uniform when she was found. A friend and fellow employees told officials she worked as many as four jobs, said Lt. Daniel Saulnier, a spokesman for the Elizabeth police department.
Authorities are waiting on a toxicology report to determine the exact cause of death, but Hazmat investigators found that fumes in Fernandes’ car were caused by a gasoline can that had spilled in the back, according to the release. Friends told police that Fernandes kept gas in her car to avoid running out of gas when traveling between jobs. And she often slept in parking lots to get a few hours of rest between jobs, authorities said.
“It is a very sad story and really tragic, and it shines a light on what is a real problem, particularly for low-wage workers, today,” said Elizabeth Watson, senior counsel and director of workplace justice for women at the National Women’s Law Center.
Fernandes’ death is one of many recent examples of the extreme lengths to which low-income women must go to make a living these days. Shanesha Taylor was charged with felony childabuse in March after she left her two children in the car while she went on a job interview. Debra Harrell was arrested in July after leaving her 9-year-old daughter to play in a park alone while she worked at McDonald’s. Jannette Navarro told The New York Times of the difficulty of her erratic schedule at her $9-per-hour job at Starbucks, which prompted the company to change its scheduling policy.
Low-wage and part-time work has proliferated in the post-recession economy. While jobs in fast food and retail are booming, the middle-wage jobs that disappeared during the recession have been slower to return. Meanwhile, the costs of child care, health care, education and other services have kept rising, adding to the burden on low-wage workers.
These trends have hit women particularly hard, contributing to an “ongoing and growing problem” of women being concentrated in low-wage work, Watson said. Women make up about two-thirds of low-wage workers. Between 2009 and 2013, 35 percent of women's job gains were in low-wage sectors compared to just 18 percent of men's, according to data from the NWLC. Even in these low-wage jobs, women make 90.4 cents to every man's dollar, on average.
Low wages and unreliable schedules mean that low-wage employees are often forced to work more than one job to make a living. Women suffer more than men in that regard, too, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a think tank focused on women’s economic issues. There are 3.3 million women in the U.S. working multiple jobs, compared to 3.4 million men. But women are almost twice as likely to be working several part-time jobs instead of one full-time job with a secondary part-time gig, according to Heidi Hartmann, the president of IWPR.
Though Fernandes didn't have any children, according to police, for many women working low-wage jobs, these issues are compounded by the fact that they have to arrange and pay for child care.
“For women, it’s just a lot harder to put together a full-time salary, and they have to do it by working two or more part-time jobs,” Hartmann said.
Fernandes worked at multiple Dunkin’ Donuts, including one at Newark Penn Station, Saulnier said. Though she wore the same uniform for each, these were technically separate jobs. Dunkin’ Donuts confirmed that the outlets where she worked were owned by different franchisees and that the different owners didn't know she was working at multiple restaurants. Fernandes worked as little as 10 hours a week at one franchise and as many as 40 hours a week at another.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of Maria Fernandes,” Michelle King, a Dunkin’ Donuts spokeswoman, wrote in a statement to HuffPost. “We send our deepest sympathies to her family and friends.”
Besides saving tax dollars, The King just moved up quite a bit in the global ranking of Fast Food Companies. BK seems prepared to survive the social media backlash and boycotts. It will be interesting to see what happens. Burger King claims it's not moving to Canada to evade taxes...yeah riiiight... If that's not true, why not say you are going to pay the taxes anyway and make the record of it available to the Amercian public...
From Huff Po: For years, Burger King has tried to take down the Big Mac with the Whopper, its own version of a deluxe burger. Now the long-suffering fast-food chain is going after McDonald's with two arguably more timeless classics: coffee and doughnuts.
On Tuesday, Burger King announced it would buy Canadian bakery and coffee chain Tim Hortons for $11.4 billion. Burger King is currently based in Miami, while Tim Hortons is headquartered in Oakville, Ontario. The headquarters of the combined, as-yet unnamed goliath will be in Toronto, although both Burger King and Tim Hortons will continue to operate from their current home cities.
With an estimated $23 billion in sales and 18,000 restaurants in 100 countries, the new entity is expected to be the third biggest fast-food chain by sales, behind McDonald's and Yum! Brands.
Customers and consumer advocates have sharply criticized the deal, saying it will allow Burger King to dodge paying U.S. taxes on overseas sales. While the fast-food chain will be able to cut a few percentage points on its overall corporate tax rate by leaving the U.S., Burger King executive chairman Alexandre Behring told investors on Tuesday that he expects overall tax expenses to remain "largely consistent" after the deal is completed.
"It's not being driven by tax rates," Behring said of the merger.
The deal is expected to strengthen Burger King's ability to compete in an industry that's displayed little momentum in recent years. McDonald's, in particular, has been struggling with flat and declining sales over the last few months. Cash-strapped customers have been turning away from traditional fast food, giving their money instead to upstarts like Chipotle and Panera.
"The [fast-food] market today is not a pretty sight," Darren Tristano, an executive vice president at the food research firm Technomic, told The Huffington Post before the deal was official.
The one bright spot in fast food: breakfast. By merging with a chain known for its coffee and pastry offerings, Burger King is hoping to benefit from the business of a greater number of morning customers -- a huge segment not yet fully conquered by traditional fast-food outlets. Currently, Burger King is competing with McDonald's, the leading fast-food chain in the breakfast space, as well as new entrants into the market like Taco Bell, which has seen big success with its recent launch of morning burritos and other items.
3G Capital, the Brazilian investment firm that controls Burger King, has so far pursued a strategy of cost cuts, shedding company-owned stores and cutting staff at its corporate headquarters. And it's worked. Burger King's stock price has more than doubled since the chain went public in 2012 .
So far, investors are happy with the strategy shift that the Tim Hortons deal signals. After the deal was made official Tuesday morning, Burger King's stock price climbed to $31.64, up about 16 percent from its closing price on Friday. Tim Hortons, which operates about 4,500 restaurants, likewise saw its stock price jump about 30 percent from Friday's closing figure.
"[The deal] gives them a chain with a concept that does some things that Burger King's competitors do really well," Dave Jenkins, a managing director at the food industry research firm Datassential, told HuffPost on Monday.
Still, it's the tax aspects of the deal that are getting the most scrutiny. The move makes Burger King the most prominent U.S. corporation to attempt a tax inversion -- a strategy that's become popular in recent years, wherein a larger company shifts its base to a smaller company's home country to take advantage of its lower tax rates.
In the U.S., companies pay up to a 35 percent rate on both domestic income and overseas sales, though the U.S. provides credits for taxes paid to foreign governments. Canada levies its federal corporate tax rate of 15 percent only on sales within its borders, then allows companies to pay only foreign taxes on sales abroad. This means that under Tuesday's deal, Burger King will still pay the same U.S. taxes on its sales here, but will only have to pay Canadian taxes on its Canadian sales, Mexican taxes on its Mexican sales and so on.
Burger King paid an effective corporate tax rate of just over 27 percent in the U.S. last year, according to regulatory filings.
Earlier this month, drugstore giant Walgreen Co. abandoned its plans to flee to Switzerland following threats of a national boycott and action from Democrats in Washington. Around that time, President Barack Obama called tax inversions "wrong" and said he may use an executive order to limit them.
Petitions to boycott Burger King proliferated on Monday, as tax advocates readied national campaigns against the fast-food company. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) called for a boycott, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said the move demonstrated Burger King's "contempt" for average Americans.
Besides the privileged tax status, there are other reasons for the new corporate entity to have its headquarters in Canada. The Canadian government has the power to block deals with Canadian brands if it doesn't view the move as being in the best interests of the country, The New York Times reported Monday.
The decision to allow Tim Hortons, an iconic Canadian brand, to remain based in its home country could help mollify objections to the deal from Canadian authorities.
The new company will be headed by Behring, who is also the managing partner of 3G Capital. The deal was partially financed by legendary investor Warren Buffett, whom the Times notes is a longtime admirer of 3G.
Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway will pay the U.S. corporate tax rate on any income earned on its $3 billion investment in the combined company, according to The Wall Street Journal.
From The Consumerist:
What would you say if someone told you the rest of your meals for your entire life were covered? Great, right? But could you buy a “lifetime” of food for $10,000? Maybe at Taco Bell, as the chain’s new “Eleven Everlasting Dollars” contest claims each winner will win free Taco Bell food for life.
The fast-food Mexican chain announced yesterday that it’s released 11 special $1 bills into the wild, bearing winning serial numbers that it will post every day for 11 days. If you have one of those bills, “you could win a lifetime of food from Taco Bell®.*”
Oh yes, there is an asterisk, because while surely going south of the border can be cheap, a lifetime is a long time. So as Taco Bell explains, it’s free food for life if you’re going to eat about $10,000 worth of burritos and chalupas before you shuffle off this mortal coil in approximately half a century. And you pay taxes on your own.
The fine print:
*Prize awarded as $10,000 in Taco Bell® gift cards. Based on average consumption ($216 per year) for 46 years. Dollar Cravings Menu™ at participating locations. Prices and Items may vary. Prices exclude tax.
So could you survive on $216 worth of Taco Bell food every year? Probably not, if you eat only $4 worth of food in a week. But can you spend $10,000 at Taco Bell in 46 years? That’s between you and your stomach, friend. You two set the terms of what you want to do to each other.
This story was originally posted on: June 16, 2011
YAY! Summer has begun!
How do I know that?
Well the Summer Fair is in town bringing with them crowds of amusement park riders, concert enthusiasts, and gut busting fast food aficionados (FRIED TWINKIES YUM!).
Definitely, my little nieces and nephews had a great time stuffing themselves with junk food and regurgitating their lunch on the Tilt-A-Whirl. But it was the masses of moronic custys I witnessed while waiting in the long ass lines at the Summer Fair that brought back retail hell memories. One in particular stuck out.
While waiting in line at the concession stand for cheese fries, I stood behind some fucktard who was giving the poor food slaves behind the counter a hard time because they were taking two minutes longer than expected on filling his large ass order.
Dumbfuck then turns around, bitches to the strangers behind him how incompetent the food workers are, and brags about how he could do a better job. (Don’t you just hate how some random asshat stranger pulls you into a conversation that is really none of your business?)
Anyway, Dumbfuck finally gets his order and walks away to stuff his fat face, leaving me the opportunity to be nice to the stressed out concessions slaves as they served me. Simply by being polite, smiling, saying please, thank you, and demonstrating some patience they got my order quickly which allowed me and the poor food slaves to go about our business and continue with having a really good day. The reason behind this is because of the horror story my BFF told me in high school that scared the shit out of me whenever I go to any fast food establishment. Let me elaborate.
Back when Queer Geek was simply Teen Geek in high school, my BFF got a summer job working at a local amusement park/Fuck E. Cheese place that catered to hellspawns. The place was opened only two years, garnered some popularity with parents, and hired teenagers for part time work.
Unfortunately, the owners had no idea how to run a business that it finally went belly up and got sold as a paid parking lot three years later. At the time, my BFF got employed into the concessions food court and she told me this story where her coworkers went apeshit on a rude custy’s food that worries me every time I place an order at a food register.
WARNING! THIS STORY IS ABSOLUTELY BUT SADLY TRUE! IF YOU HAVE A WEAK STOMACH, STOP READING!
Rude custy comes in and orders a pizza.
Now their pizza is your typical fake cheese, fake sauce, microwave convection over three minutes making kind. Larger pizzas take approximately seven to eight minutes. Rude custy orders a large.
BFF and coworkers start making it. Not one minute goes by before the rude custy starts banging the counter demanding that her large pizza be shown in front of her.
Coworkers scramble but rude custy is screaming bloody murder for her pizza to show up. BFF is in tears while pissed off coworkers duck into the concealed kitchen and PURPOSELY drop the pizza on to the floor.
BFF watches in horror as coworkers each take turns kicking it around the dirty floor, stepping into it, and using it as a rag to wipe the counters.
Visible debris, dirt, and bugs are removed or tucked into the dough before it is popped into the oven.
Eight minutes later, rude unknowing custy is given her contaminated pizza for free while BFF’s coworkers pee in their pants with laughter leaving a horrified BFF ready to lose her lunch.
Surprisingly no one knew about this incident.
Well, that was until now!
MORAL OF STORY: Always be nice to your food slave. You never know what they do to your order behind the counter!
The thing with most fast food places (Mcdonalds etc.) the server isn't the one making the food, even when it is punched in properly by the cashier.
There may be stupid idiots in the kitchen that cannot make the burger properly, or don't read the grill slip so when the server gives the food to the customer. But if its not correctly made then it's the server/cashier that gets bitched at.
I had a lady one time who ordered a burger without lettuce. I went to get her burger and the grill slip said 'no lettuce' so I assumed no lettuce (as you cannot unwrap the packaging to look, and it was rather busy).
I handed her the burger, turned around to make a drink and when I turned back to the cashier the lady THREW the burger at me, it hit me, then screamed! "THIS. HAS! LETTUCE!" Then muttered about ME being an idiot... uugh.
Burger King buying Tim Horton's will probably never happen now. The power of social media is currently unleashing on the BK in a boycott frenzy. And they should be worried, they're not even one of the top 5 fast food companies. My guess is they are going to let America have it their way - pay taxes, bitch!
NEW YORK -- Burger King is getting whopped over its plan to avoid U.S. taxes by fleeing to Canada.
People flooded the fast-food chain’s Facebook page on Monday with threats of a boycott after the company announced talks to merge with Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons. The combined company would be headquartered in Canada.
Burger King is just the latest American company to attempt a so-called tax inversion -- where a bigger U.S. company buys a smaller foreign firm in a country with a lower tax rate, renounces its U.S. corporate citizenship and then reincorporates in the other nation. Politicians and pundits have said the moves amount to little more than unpatriotic ploys to avoid paying taxes. The corporate tax rate in the U.S. is 35 percent, the highest in the world. Canada's is about 15 percent.
"Move to Canada to avoid paying taxes and I will never darken the door of a Burger King again," Mike Gee, of Magnolia, Arkansas, wrote in a comment. "Does corporate greed in this country ever end?"
Radina Russell, a Burger King spokeswoman, declined to comment.
Taxes aren't Tim Hortons' only appeal to the Miami-based burger chain. The company sells a lot of coffee and doughnuts, and Burger King has struggled to compete with rivals McDonald's and Taco Bell in the fast-food war over breakfast. It's not clear how much the move to Canada would reduce tax costs on the combined company. But the deal would allow it to avoid paying double taxes on profits earned abroad, even though the company would still pay U.S. taxes on domestic sales.
Earlier this month, drugstore giant Walgreen ditched its plan to re-incorporate in low-tax Switzerland after facing intense pressure from politicians and protesters, more than 300,000 of whom signed a petition to boycott the chain. Roger Hickey, the co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future, which spearheaded the Walgreen petition, said his group will launch a similar public plea within the next few days.
“On almost every street corner, there’s an alternative fast food restaurant where [consumers] can buy food once they learn what Burger King is doing,” Hickey told The Huffington Post on Monday. “You don’t even have to announce a boycott to let them know that they’re going to lose business.”
Still, it may be hard to convince diners to change their habits, especially over a wonky tax loophole. Out of 10 people HuffPost spoke with on Monday afternoon at a Burger King in Manhattan, just one had even heard about the chain's possible move. Once the concept was explained to them, all of the customers said that they'd still eat at Burger King even if the restaurant went through with the plan.
Long Island resident Debbie Mevlos, who stops in at Burger King to eat a chicken sandwich every once and a while, said she didn't really care that the company was trying to pay less in taxes. In fact, she said the only news that would actually stop her from eating at Burger King would be some kind of food safety or harassment scandal.
Mevlos, 38, added that it doesn't surprise her that the company is doing what makes the most financial sense.
"Nobody wants to pay taxes," she said.
"They're in it to get richer," said Andre Perry, 48. Perry lives in the Bronx, and he said his hankering for Whoppers brings him to Burger King about three times a week. The news that the fast food chain might be trying to lower its tax rate wouldn't stop him from eating there, he said.
"It's not hurting my pocket," he said.
In fact, the possible plan has deepened some pockets on Wall Street. Burger King's stock price soared nearly 20 percent to $32.40 on Monday. Hedge fund titan Bill Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management made about $161 million on Monday morning on its Burger King stake, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Even as some customers stay loyal to Burger King, calls for a boycott are already proliferating online beyond Facebook. A petition against Burger King began gathering signatures on on Monday, and the leftist Occupy Democrats group posted similar appeals on its Facebook page. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) outright urged customers to eat at Wendy’s or White Castle instead.
“Burger King’s decision to abandon the United States means consumers should turn to Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers or White Castle sliders,” the Ohio Democrat said in a statement. “Burger King has always said ‘Have it Your Way’; well my way is to support two Ohio companies that haven’t abandoned their country or customers.”
"Burger King is so visible, it puts a focus on the general behavior of corporate America and, in a sense, the contempt they feel for the average American," he said during a Monday appearance on HuffPost Live.
President Barack Obama called tax inversion deals “wrong” earlier this month, and vowed to use an executive order to curb them.
“Get ready to hear fresh charges that some U.S. companies aren’t patriotic,” Greg Valliere, the chief political strategist at Potomac Research Group, wrote in a note to clients on Monday morning. “Democrats had hoped that a Walgreen inversion deal would help their cause, but Burger King is just as good, if not better.”
Frank Clemente, the director of the nonprofit Americans for Tax Fairness, said he was taken aback by the timing of Burger King’s move.
“Burger King is as much of an iconic brand as Walgreens, so that’s what surprises me most,” Clemente told HuffPost on Monday. “That’s the problem for Burger King, what the public perception is going to be when the public can just go to a competitor right down the street, like McDonald’s.”
Mothers working in the fast-food industry sure have it rough. Last week The New York Times exposed Starbucks’ erratic scheduling policy, which made it difficult for a low-income single mom to raise her child. Now a new lawsuit claims that Del Taco fired an employee just for being a mother.
Claudia Melesio-Rojas is suing the fast-food company for $242,000, claiming that the Gresham, Ore., Del Taco restaurant for which she worked fired her for being pregnant. She had been with the company since 2005, most recently earning $10.55 an hour as a “shift lead.” The Oregonian reported that according to the lawsuit, last fall managers said that shift leads weren’t permitted to become pregnant because “they needed to be present and available at any time in order to perform their duties.”
That fall, Melesio-Rojas became pregnant. By January, she was showing. On Feb. 1, 2014, she was terminated after a customer complained about not receiving his entire order.
“This was…used as an excuse to terminate her because of her pregnancy,” reads the lawsuit.
Federal antidiscrimination laws prohibit the firing of employees for being pregnant or for any medical condition associated with pregnancy or childbirth. The Family and Medical Leave Act entitles employees to take up to 12 weeks off to care for a baby.
“This case is really about how this employer was trying to enforce antifamily policies on its employees,” Quinn Kuranz, the lawyer representing Melesio-Rojas, told The Oregonian.
For years the fast-food industry has come under fire for not paying employees enough and for malfeasance such as wage theft. This lawsuit, if Melesio-Rojas wins, would further prove how badly fast-food workers and mothers in this country have it. Oregon isn’t even on the list of states that treat moms the worst.