SNAP for Strikers

The Lempert Report
August 02, 2023

Senator John Fetterman has introduced a new food stamps bill for workers who are on strike and the interesting thing about this, it's called the Food Secure Strikers Act of 2023. It would repeal a restriction on striking workers who receive SNAP benefits, protect food stamp eligibility for public sector workers fired for striking and clarify that any income eligible household can receive SNAP benefits even if a member of that household is on strike. I give Fetterman a lot of credit for doing this and in fact, it's important to note that Fetterman now is on the cover of Time Magazine this week, not because of this story, but because of his battle with depression. Good for him for standing up for these people, because there's a lot of people out there who just can't make ends meet, not only because of food prices. But there was a study by the economic roundtable, which is a California nonprofit, that looked at Disney's 30,000 workers and they found that three-quarters of Disneyland employees can't afford rent, food and gas. Among Disneyland resort employees with kids who pay for childcare, 80% say they cannot make ends meet at the end of the month. 79% are food insecure. 25% say they are unlikely to be able to pay for housing. That month, Bob Iger, their CEO, signed a new contract for two years $27 million per year. Again personally. And you know when you look at Disneyland, this morning I went on Disneyland's website to see what it would cost me to go to Disneyland. So, for a two-day ticket, which would only give me one park - one park - as an adult, $285, and as a kid, $270. If I want to go to more than one park and that category is called Park Hopper it raises to $345 for an adult and $330 for kids. Whether it be food prices, whether it's the price of going to Disneyland, this is absolutely absurd, as these CEOs, and this is what Fetterman said, as the CEOs of some of the biggest Hollywood companies, are raking in hundreds of millions of dollars per year, they have the nerve to say that workers who are standing up for better pay and conditions aren't being realistic. Something's got to break here. Food prices, labor strikes, the writer's strike. You know all of this. We're really at which end here? 

Sally: Yes, and you know this is a very important topic. SNAP benefits are very much in the news right now because many Americans have recently or are going to lose their SNAP benefits as some of those pandemic era considerations now roll back to pre-pandemic SNAP requirements. But he's making a good point here about you know that unions to many Americans are very important institutions and that when people want to go on strike and ask for better working conditions, that they should still be able to put food on their table when they do that. 

Phil: Absolutely. And if you look at what's gone on with Starbucks firing people for you know, trying to organize and get better pay and you look at, again, the wages that so many of these people are getting, you know we never really talk about the average actor salary, and that's $27,000 a year. It's not the Tom Cruise's of the world who's making hundreds of millions of dollars. That's not the average. The average is just $27,000 a year. And now when we talk about AI getting involved and the working conditions and so on, it's an important story and again, you know, kudos to Fetterman for stepping up and trying to support this.