Business

Public aid crucial to fast-food workers

Georgina Gutierrez works as a cook at a Burger King. She said she relies on food stamps to get by.
Georgina Gutierrez works as a cook at a Burger King. She said she relies on food stamps to get by.Essdras M. Suarez/Globe Staff

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More than half of fast food workers’ families nationwide rely on public assistance to get by —double the rate of the overall workforce — at a cost of nearly $7 billion a year to US taxpayers, according to a study released Tuesday.

In Massachusetts, employees of McDonald’s, Burger King, and other fast food chains receive $173 million a year in programs such as Medicaid, and food stamps, research by the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found.

Fast food workers across the country have been campaigning to call attention to the low wages and minimal benefits they earn as employees of highly profitable corporations.

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