Here's a Wall Street whopper for you. Goldman Sachs, where former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson was once CEO, switched from an investment bank to a bank holding company last year so it could qualify for $10 billion in bailout funds. They then spent $6.5 billion on bonuses for their financial staff. Goldman's recklessness is one of several scandalous stories of Wall Street giants abusing the bailout at the expense of taxpayers and the economy. But in this case, Goldman's excessive spending has had an immediate and profound impact on the American work force.
Goldman Sachs is one of the largest owners of Burger King, which employees about 360,000 workers nationwide. The average Burger King salary is $14,000 a year--three grand less than the federal poverty line. According to the SEIU and a new campaign from Brave New Films, had Goldman used the $6.5 billion blown on bonuses to help Burger King's woefully underpaid employees, each BK worker would have received an extra $18,000 last year.
Beyond the bailout, Goldman Sachs and Burger King have been teaming up to keep BK employees in the poor house for years. Burger King is routinely fined for not paying minimum wage or overtime, and they refuse to provide workers with affordable health coverage. Meanwhile, Goldman spent close to $16 million on lobbying last year, part of which went toward opposing the Employee Free Choice Act, which would help workers form unions and fight for better wages, benefits, and working conditions. And in the last two years, Burger King spent nearly $320,000 lobbying against similar legislation and another $180,000 to fight a federal minimum wage increase.
Brave New Films says Goldman Sachs has been having it their way with Burger King employees for too long. They've launched a Have It Your Way with Goldman Sachs contest today where you can tell the Wall Street firm how they could have used that $6.5 billion to end corporate greed and fix the financial crisis. The best idea will be incorporated in Brave New Films' next video. Their contest comes in conjunction with SEIU demonstrations all across the country this week, calling for Burger King employees to receive living wages, affordable health benefits, freedom to form unions, stronger workplace protection and protection against sexual harassment. Just a few tangible ways to take action and combat this corporate greed.