Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Restaurant owners flock to Congress to legislate against Fight for $15 efforts

The Hill reports that fast food restaurant owners and operators are being flown into Washington DC by the International Franchise Association in an effort to cut the Fight for $15 effort off at the knees. Getting Congress to enact legislation that will increase the power of fast food restaurant owners  and decrease the ability of restaurant workers to effectively and collectively bargain for greater pay and benefits is a continuation of the exploitative policies this industry is founded on. According to The Hill:
The fight centers on a July finding by the NLRB’s (National Labor Relations Board) Office of General Counsel that McDonald’s USA LLC could be named as a “joint employer respondent” in scores of cases alleging workers’ rights were violated in response to protests for higher pay.

Franchisors have traditionally been insulated from such cases, but the NLRB finding supports a view held by unions that corporations like McDonald’s enjoy control over virtually every facet of its stores while bearing little responsibility for worker treatment.
Given that the NLRB ruled in response to a seemingly never ending stream of cases involving retribution against employees for attempting to exercise their rights to collectively bargain, and given that a whopping 89% of fast food employees report being victims of wage theft, that is, employers not paying employees for work they have performed, for the International Franchise Association to appeal to Congress for redress is akin to the idea of bankrobbers complaining to Congress that the banks are making it too hard to get into their safes.

I am reminded of the press release put out by the National Restaurant Association in response to the fast food strikes two weeks ago. I've rewritten their distorted version of events into something a little more true to life:
This is a national, multi-million dollar campaign engineered, organized and funded by the International Franchise Association. This activity has proven to be an orchestrated PR event where the vast majority of participants are owners and operators of fast food restaurants interested in preserving a status quo of low wages and powerless workers. This is nothing more than the business groups’ self-interested attempt to boost their massive profits by targeting restaurant employees. I hope restaurant owners will not escalate with aggressive tactics or intimidation, and will act with respect toward employees' rights.

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