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Colbert to KFC Worker Seeking Higher Wage: 'I Could Be Paying More Than Four Cents More for My Go Cup'


On his show last night, the satirical talk show host interviewed a 22-year-old Brooklyn resident who wants fast food workers to earn more per hour and have the right to unionize.

Good thing Yum Brands (NYSE:YUM) shareholders have Stephen Colbert on their side. Last night the talk show host invited Brooklyn KFC worker Naquasia LeGrand, 22, to his set and demanded she explain where she gets off asking for higher pay for the work she does.

"Why not work more?" he suggested, later adding: "If you wanted to make more money, why didn't you have the foresight to be a multinational corporation?"

Legrand is a member of Fast Food Forward, a New York City-based group that's also part of a nationwide movement to push for a $15-per-hour minimum wage.

The union-backed activists argue that increasing the minimum wage will benefit the larger economy by making it possible for restaurant and retail workers to save for the costs of education (for themselves or their family), or for job training in another sector, and consume more goods and services.

Some labor experts and economists say that it would be possible for large companies like McDonald's (NYSE:MCD), Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), and Yum to bump up wages and benefits for its employees while maintaining profitability. Some combination of reducing executive pay and increasing prices for consumers may be part of the required formula. But consumers would not necessarily see steep increases, as Minyanville reported last year:

To investigate the ramifications of a pay increase for Wal-Mart employees, the UC Berkeley labor research center recently updated its study Living Wage Policies and Big Box Retail. Its findings concluded that if Wal-Mart moved wages to a minimum of $12 per hour, and pushed 100% of the expenses on to consumers, it would cost shoppers an average of $0.46 per shopping visit, or $12.49 for the year. In all, it would be an increase of 1.1% facing consumers, well below the discount Wal-Mart aims to offer shoppers.

Colbert, however, spoke up for the Americans who would be asked to dig deeper into their pockets if LeGrand and others succeed in their mission, saying: "You realize that extra 75 cents per hour would get passed on to a consumer like me? I could be paying an extra 4 cents for my Go Cup."

Watch the show below:

For more on Fast Food Forward and related movements, see:

The $7 Billion Problem of Low-Wage Fast-Food Jobs

What Can Europe Teach Us About Better Pay, Conditions at McDonald's?

Fast Food Forward: 'Civil Rights Movement of Our Era' Gains Momentum

Why Wal-Mart May Respond to Black Friday Strike Threats: Labor Expert

Twitter: @Minyanville

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