According to new reports, the onion-chopping preppers and burger-patty grillers of America are suffering most from declining real wages. Real wages refers to pay that's adjusted for inflation, and by this measurement, the take-home payments of cooks have fallen by 8.9 percent since 2009. It's the steepest decline among all the large occupations in the lowest-paid segment of the workforce. By comparison, janitors' real wages have shrunk by 6.6 percent, and housecleaners' by 6.1 percent.
The Times found a poignant example to hammer this home: an Iraq War vet who worked at KFC as a kid in the '90s making $5.50 an hour, which would now be $8.61, but today is back as a cook at the chain, making $7.25.
See photos from the fight to raise minimum wage around the country:
Minimum wage protests, rallies for increase
The wages of cooks have declined more than those of any other profession
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (C) speaks in support of raising the minimum wage for the state of New York to $15 per hour on September 10, 2015 in New York City. Biden said he would like to see the federal minimum wage risen to $12 per hour. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Workers who have fought for a raise in the minimum wage celebrate at a political rally where U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced their support to raise the minimum wage for the state of New York to $15 per hour on September 10, 2015 in New York City. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden also said he would like to see the federal minimum wage risen to $12 per hour. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - SEPTEMBER 10: Protesters in support of a $15 an hour minimum wage stand together on September 10, 2015 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles are among cities that have adopted a $15 an hour minimum wages. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, ME - SEPTEMBER 7: Douglas Born, of the Southern Mainen Labor Council, speaks at a labor day rally Monday, September 7, 2015 in Portland, Maine. The rally was aimed at honoring striking FairPoint workers and raising awareness of the effort to increase the minimum wage. (Photo by Joel Page/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON D.C., July 22, 2015-- Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks during a strike rally, demanding to raise the federal minimum wage to 15 dollars per hour on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., the United States, on July 22, 2015. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 22: Labor leaders, workers and activists attend a rally for a $15 minimum hourly wage on July 22, 2015 in New York City. A panel appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo recommended on Wednesday that the minimum wage be raised for employees of fast-food chain restaurants throughout the state. The panel recommended that the $15 rate be phased in by December 31, 2018 for New York City and by July 1, 2021 for the rest of the state. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 22: A protestor holds a sign in Upper Senate Park during a rally on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 22, 2015, to push for a raise to the minimum wage to $15 an hour. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
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More data, gathered by researchers at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, further show that wage-earners' productivity has been improving steadily for years now, but (big surprise) the beneficiaries are at the top — the companies themselves, their shareholders, and the top executives.