The Public Cost of Fast Food Work Hearings in St. Louis, Kansas City

Terrence WiseMissouri Jobs with Justice, the St. Louis Workers’ Rights Board, St. Louis Can’t Survive on $7.35, The Kansas City Workers’ Rights Board, and Stand Up KC held hearings on Monday, October 28 and Wednesday, October 30, respectively. The subject of the hearings was a recent report published by the University of California – Berkeley that that says over half of all fast food workers receive some type of taxpayer-funded government assistance. The overall cost of that assistance is nearly $7 billion per year. In Missouri, that amount is $150 million.

Our Hearing Panel in St. Louis consisted of: Rabbi Andrea Goldstein, Congregation Shaare Emeth; Alderman Shane Cohn, 25th Ward; MO State Representative Karla May, District 84; MO State Representative Michael Butler, District 79; Laura Estes, Constituent Manage for Jake Zimmerman, St. Louis County Assessor; Miriam Mahan, Executive Director, Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service; Bishop James Morris, Pastor, Lane Tabernacle Christian Methodist Episcopal Church; Tishaura O. Jones, City of St. Louis Treasurer; The Rev. Dr. Marc Smith, Vicar of the Episcopal Church of the Ascension. The panel was chaired by Joan Suarez, Co-Chair of the St. Louis Workers’ Rights Board. The hearing was emceed by The Rev. Dr. Martin Rafanan, Co-Chair of the St. Louis Workers’ Rights Board and Director of STL735. Testifying at the hearing was Wendy’s workers Alisha Snider; McDonald’s worker Shermale Humphrey; Taco Bell worker Krystal McLemore; MO Dept. of Social Services Caseworkers Natashia Pickens and Holly Roe; and Webster University Professor Allan MacNeill.

Our Hearing Panel in Kansas City consisted of: MO State Representative Brandon Ellington, Missouri House District 22; Sr. Berta Sailer, Executive Director, Operation Breakthrough; Bruce Eddy, Executive Director, Jackson County Community Mental Health Fund; Beth Low, Director of the Greater Kansas City Food Policy Coalition; The Rev. Stan Runnels, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, and Dr. Peter Eaton, UMKC Center for Economic Information. The panel was chaired by Judy Ancel, UMKC, KC JwJ Workers’ Rights Board and Leadership Team. Testifying at the hearing was Wendy’s worker Latoya and KC Worker Organizing Committee and Stand Up KC Leader Terrance Wise (pictured, right). Big thanks to Communities Creating Opportunities for their help with the KC hearing.

We got great press in both cities. See the St. Louis Beacon and KSHB in Kansas City. See pictures from the hearing in our Facebook albums in Kansas City and St. Louis.