For Immediate Release
Jeff Cappella, 202-730-7204
‘King Size Combo:’ New Report Reveals Broad Toll on Taxpayers by Bailed-Out Bank Goldman Sachs and Its Holdings in Burger King
Goldman paid nearly double the average bonus on Wall St ; Burger King costs taxpayers estimated $273 million a year
WASHINGTON - As
Congress and the Obama administration look to hold major banks that
have received billions in federal bailout funds better accountable for
their corporate practices, a report released today by the Service
Employees International Union (SEIU) on Goldman Sachs and its holdings
in Burger King finds that the true total of taxpayer subsidies some of
the banks are enjoying extends well beyond the monies they've taken
through the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP).
The report finds that one of
Goldman Sachs' major investments, Burger King, costs taxpayers more
than a quarter billion dollars a year as Burger King employees are
forced to rely on public health and income support programs as a result
of the lack of affordable employer health coverage and sub-poverty wage
levels at Burger King.
Meanwhile, Burger King chief
executive John Chidsey took home $5.4 million in 2008 and Goldman Sachs
accepted $10 billion in taxpayer bailout money ¾
then paid out $6.5 billion in bonuses. Goldman paid the highest per
employee bonus average among top banks reporting so far, and the firm's
bonuses were nearly double the average bonus on Wall Street. If Goldman
Sachs had used the $6.5 billion it paid in corporate bonuses to help
Burger King's 360,000 workers instead, each worker would have received
"The misuse of
tax dollars we're seeing now by some of the bailed-out banks is no
one-shot deal," said SEIU President Andy Stern. "Year in and year out
companies that can easily afford to improve health care and wages for
workers simply aren't doing so and are making taxpayers pick up the
public assistance tab instead. It's drain on our economy we can't
afford ignore any longer."
A previous SEIU report on another
bailout recipient, Bank of America, found similar evidence of
employment costs being shifted to taxpayers ¾ up to $50 million a year because Bank of America workers lack affordable employer health benefits.
Service workers held a protest
today outside Burger King headquarters in Miami to call on Burger King
and Goldman Sachs to stop opposing efforts to rebuild the economy
through improvements for workers while taking billions of dollars from
taxpayers and rewarding CEOs and corporate staff. Additional public
outreach on the issue will take place throughout the week this week at
Burger King restaurants in other cities around the country.
While costing taxpayers billions,
both Burger King and Goldman Sachs are fighting legislation in the U.S.
Congress that could help all workers and the overall economy by broadly
increasing consumer purchasing power. Between 2006 and 2008 Burger King
has spent $319,648 on lobbying, including lobbying against the Employee
Free Choice Act, a measure that would ensure workers the freedom to
form a union for a voice for improved wages, benefits, and working
conditions. Burger King also spent $180,000 to hire lobbyists to fight
pro-worker legislation, including an increase in the minimum wage in
2006 and 2007.
Goldman Sachs is involved in
lobbying against workers' interests as a member of the Business
Roundtable, which spent $15,849,000 on lobbying in 2008 according to the Center for Responsive Politics, including lobbying against the Employee Free Choice Act in the third and fourth quarters last year.
With the food service industry,
including fast food, expected to add one million new jobs to the
economy between 2006 and 2016, the SEIU report "King Size Combo: What
Burger King and Goldman Sachs Are Costing Our Country" looks at a wide
range of worker and consumer issues at Burger King to gain perspective
on the potential import of the growing fast food sector for the broader
The SEIU report concludes that in
addition to assuring sound banking practices on Wall St., Goldman Sachs
must take responsibility for its important economic holdings on Main
St., such as Burger King. The report recommends that regulators should
demand that bailout recipients stimulate the economy by increasing
lending and by committing to living wages, affordable health benefits,
freedom for workers to choose to form unions (the Employee Free Choice
Act), and other consumer and worker protections.
For a copy of the report, please visit http://action.seiu.org/bk.
To see Brave New Films' newly released video about business practices
at Burger King and the Goldman Sachs connection, please visit http://www.warongreed.org .
FRIENDS: Help Us Fight
Independent journalism has become the last firewall against government and corporate lies. Yet, with frightening regularity, independent media sources are losing funding, closing down or being blacked out by Google and Facebook. Never before has independent media been more endangered. If you believe in Common Dreams, if you believe in people-powered independent media, please support us now and help us fight—with truths—against the lies that would smother our democracy. Please help keep Common Dreams alive and growing. Thank you. -- Craig Brown, Co-founder
With 2 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers—not just corporations and CEOs—benefit from today's global economy.