Stand with Fast Food Workers – Dec 4

Stand with fast food, home care and airport workers fighting for $15/hr

seiuNo matter who you are or where you’re from, if you work hard, you should be able to make enough to live a good life and provide a better one for your kids. That’s the key to getting our economy and our families back on track – and it’s worth fighting for.

That’s why fast food, home care and airport workers are coming together to fight for $15 an hour and the right to stick together in a union.

Thousands of fast food workers in more than 150 cities across the country have voted to go on strike on December 4. Home care and airport workers will be on the picket lines alongside them in solidarity.

reposted from SEIU.org

McDonald’s Korea Fires Worker for Supporting Global Fast Food Protest

by Paul Garver

 MCD kOREA

Gahyun Lee was dismissed from her job at a McDonald’s outlet in Yeokgok, Gyeonggi Province on September 15 following her visit to Los Angeles earlier that month to support the national action by US fast food workers.

Management had previously warned her about union activity in May – citing a phone call from the head office – after she denounced wage and scheduling manipulation and unsafe workplace practices at a May 15 Seoul rally in support of global fast food workers. Management refused to provide her with an explanation of why her contract was terminated, instead telling her to reapply for the job. Her application was rejected.

The Arbeit Workers’ Union (which organizes precarious workers) is demanding her reinstatement and publicizing her case. You can support them by sending a message to McDonald’s Korea corporate management calling on the company to reinstate Gahyun Lee, recognize union rights and representation and enter into good faith talks with the union over unfair practices.  Go to:

http://www.iuf.org/cgi-bin/campaigns/show_campaign.cgi?c=922

Global Worker Solidarity Gets Real

 

by Paul Garver

Fast Food for 15 Labor activists have long called for international solidarity to confront global corporations, but sentimental and rhetorical appeals to the workers of the world to unite failed to produce lasting results throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. However, recent global organizing campaigns in fast food, which employs millions worldwide, and telecommunications show promise.

Fast Food

The international coordinated actions of fast-food workers on May 15, 2014, took place in 158 U.S. cities and 93 other cities across 36 countries. More than 10,000 workers and their supporters participated. This represented an unprecedented level of global labor solidarity.

Organizing fast-food workers on a global scale poses enormous challenges. There are relatively few workers in any outlet, and they are mostly precariously employed by third parties other than the global corporations. Labor law in the United States and most other countries is ill-adapted to facilitate worker representation and collective bargaining for such an atomized work force. Fast-food unions have gained small toeholds in only a few European countries that have collective bargaining by sector. Only in New Zealand has a determined union membership been able to conduct repeated, if brief, strikes to raise wages.

After the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) began putting significant resources into community-based organizations and worker centers, fast-food worker organizing has taken off into a powerful movement for raising the minimum wage for all workers.

Global coordination to raise the minimum wage by raising public consciousness rather than through sector or workplace organizing is done through the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Association (IUF). The IUF, using funding from its own member unions, including the SEIU, held a global meeting of 80 fast-food workers and union representatives from 26 countries in New York in the week prior to the May 15 actions. Many of the foreign delegates remained in the United States to help organize the protest actions in U.S. cities. IUF General Secretary Ron Oswald notes that “The Fight for 15” is “just the beginning of an unprecedented international fast-food worker movement.”

Telecommunications Organizing

Another major global organizing campaign is talking place within Deutsche Telecom (DT), parent of T-Mobile U.S., which the Communication Workers of America (CWA) has been trying to organize. The large union ver.di, which represents DT workers in Germany, has been supporting the CWA organizing drive, trying to compel DT to apply higher worker rights’ standards to its operations in the United States. In May 2014, ver.di sponsored a thousand-strong rally at DT’s Berlin headquarters that included hundreds of international trade unionists in Berlin for an International Trade Union Confederation World Congress, CWA President Larry Cohen. and fired T-Mobile U.S. union activist Josh Coleman. Because of ver.di’s tireless media campaign, Coleman has become well known in Germany as a symbol of DT’s anti-union conduct in the United States.

This was not a one-off event. Ver.di members on the DT works council have visited several Southern U.S. cities where CWA is trying to organize at T-Mobile, and the two unions have formed a joint organization called T-Mobile Workers United (TU) to encourage contacts between German and U.S. workers, including an online discussion forum.

To be effective, global labor solidarity must be mutual and long-term, built around the common interests of workers in particular sectors and transnational companies. Global campaigns like these are moving in the direction of deeper practical organization and strategic planning.

Paul Garver is a retired organizer for the IUF and for SEIU and has been active in DSA for more than three decades. This article also appears in the Fall 2014 issue of Democratic Left.

Super-sized fast food worker strike to start tomorrow as movement goes global

by Teamster Nation

5-15-14Fast food workerswill strike tomorrow in 150 U.S. cities and 30 cities overseas, escalating the movement for fair wages and the right to organize that now encompasses port truck drivers, warehouse workers, food processing workers, Walmart associates and government contractors.

Short, sudden strikes began in late 2012 against fast-food employers, but they have since grown to include a spectrum of low-wage workers joining together in job actions. Walmart workers, longshoremen and Teamsters held picket lines for striking port drivers recently, and a McDonald’s worker and UFCW member recently joined Teamsters and Taylor Farms workersin California’s state capital to push for a bill protecting temporary workers.

Decades of union-busting in this country lowered wages to the point where half the workers in America earn wages at or near the poverty level. Now tens of thousands of workers at a time are taking to the street to demand a fair day’s wage for a day’s work. Continue reading

Is Fast-food Business Model Based on Wage Theft?

by Gregory N. Heires

McDonaldsThe fast-food business model is based on wage theft.

That’s the thrust of seven lawsuits that hit McDonald’s in three states last week.

Employees are cheated out of overtime.

They are forced to clock out when a computer monitoring program determines that profits are at risk because not enough customers showing up.

And the exploited workers’ pay falls below the minimum wage because they are forced to pick up the tab for cleaning their uniforms.

The lawsuits seek class-action status, which means thousands of workers could be covered. Continue reading

Domino’s workers fired for protesting wage theft get their jobs back

by Laura Clawson

Eric_Schneiderman-Tony_West-DOJ2012

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman

The 25 Manhattan Domino’s workers who lost their jobs after protesting being forced to work below minimum wage will be back on the job this weekend, thanks to an agreement with New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Delivery workers were told to do tasks that wouldn’t lead to tips, but the store continued to pay them a wage legal only for tipped workers. They protested, and lost their jobs.

Jose Sanchez, one of the reinstated Domino’s employees, said, “We are overjoyed by the Attorney General’s fight on our behalf, and are excited to be able to return to work at a legal wage. This was never just about us alone — it was about the 84% of NYC fast-food workers who, like us, are victims of wage theft in our city. My fellow employees and I were so moved by the solidarity and support we received from this community. As we keep up our push for $15/hour and the right to form a union, we know the community has our back.”

In addition to the attorney general’s role in getting the workers their jobs back, local politicians and community groups like New York Communities for Change pressured the Domino’s franchise owner with repeated rallies in support of the workers. It’s good to see that in New York, at least, when the attorney general notices labor laws are being broken, he takes action. But as Jose Sanchez pointed out, wage theft is overwhelmingly common in New York City’s fast food restaurants and often doesn’t draw notice, with workers not empowered or supported to fight back.

Laura Clawson reports on labor issues for Daily Kos where his post first appeared.

Domino’s workers fired for complaining about being paid below minimum wage

by Laura Clawson

New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez rallies with fired Domino's workers.

New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez rallies with fired Domino’s workers.

In response to last week’s strike by fast food workers, Manhattan Domino’s Pizza provided a crystal-clear example of why fast food workers are striking and organizing for better wages and working conditions:

Employees of a Washington Heights Domino’s claim they were fired from their delivery jobs after complaining to management about unfair wages. Workers at the 181st street chain participated in last Thursday’s nationwide walkout in solidarity with the country’s underpaid fast food workers, which included strong numbers of workers and supporters in New York City. Following the walkout, delivery workers—who are paid under $6 an hour and rely on tips to make a living wage—were asked to work extended hours inside the restaurant but were not offered increased hourly pay for their time inside the store. After bringing the issue to management’s attention, the 24 employees were fired. Continue reading

Fast food workers to strike in 100 cities

by Laura Clawson

fastfoodstrikeLess than a week after more than 110 Walmart workers and supporters were arrested at Black Friday protests and strikes, fast food workers are escalating their fight for fair wages, fair treatment, and the right to organize. One-day strikes are planned for Thursday at fast food restaurants in 100 cities, Steven Greenhouse reports, including cities like Providence, Rhode Island, and Charleston, South Carolina, that have not been among the dozens in which fast food workers have staged walkouts to date.

“There’s been pretty huge growth in one year,” said Kendall Fells, one of the movement’s main organizers. “People understand that a one-day strike is not going to get them there. They understand that this needs to continue to grow.” Continue reading

Fight for $15, cuz we can’t survive on $8.25!

by Bob Simpson

Downtown Chicago retail and restaurant workers are organizing to fight for a living wage of $15 per hour through their new union, the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago (WOCC). On December 22, 2012 WOCC led a march through Chicago’s upscale Magnificent Mile shopping district to press their cause. It ended with a sit-in and 24 arrests next to the Michigan Ave Macy’s.