By Clint Rainey for Grub Street – Despite him using the word “freely to describe black people,” police told Ford it wasn’t a criminal act, so there wasn’t much they could do. Ford took to Facebook instead, where her post quickly exploded. While she says the site deleted the original for some reason, her updates have received plenty of attention: It didn’t take long for Dairy Queen’s headquarters to take action. It released a statement Thursday that called Crichton’s behavior “inexcusable, reprehensible, and unacceptable,” and then, on Friday, the chain announced that Crichton’s restaurant would close, effective immediately, and “not reopen as a Dairy Queen unless ownership changes at that location.”
By Matthew Hamilton for Times Union – The state Industrial Board of Appeals has upheld the planned increase to a $15 minimum wage for the state’s fast food workers. “No one who works hard should ever be condemned to a life of poverty and that’s why we are continuing the fight today,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who called for a wage board to consider increasing the pay for fast food workers earlier this year. “We will not stop until we ensure a new standard of economic justice for all workers – and when New York acts, the rest of the nation follows.” The IBA shot down the National Restaurant Association’s arguments that internet entrepreneur Kevin Ryan was not an appropriate employer representative on the wage board…
By C. Robert Gibson in Occupy – So, to be clear, $15 an hour now is neither an unreasonable nor irrational demand. By contrast, the default argument against increasing the minimum wage is the alleged harm it will do to businesses. This can be negated by simply restructuring existing corporate entitlement programs already in place. According to a 2014 report by Good Jobs First, just 965 corporations have received over 75 percent of all state business subsidies. Fortune 500 companies – by definition the most successful and profitable in the world – received $63 billion in taxpayer handouts. Good Jobs First found that out of 441,000 entitlement programs (277,000 state and local; 164,000 federal), those 965 corporations received a total of 25,000 entitlements worth $110 billion through various subsidiary corporations.
By Working Washington – In the year between the first Seattle fast food strikes and the passage Seattle’s landmark $15 minimum wage law, we heard all kinds of of sky-is-falling predictions from business owners, academics, and others. Week after week, self-appointed experts showed up in the news, insisting that they knew best. It was Economics 101, they’d say: higher wages would surely sink the economy. Businesses would be destroyed.Franchises would cease to exist. Prices would rise 25% or more. Open for business signs would go dark, owners would move to Texas, and Seattle would become a city of Cheesecake Factories. Their arguments are pretty much the same stuff as business lobbyists have been saying since child labor laws were passed. And yet they were treated as credible sources in Seattle’s public debate.
The biotech industry has a long history of discrediting scientists who challenge the safety of GMOs. That intimidation campaign worked well until consumers connected the dots between GMO foods (and the toxic chemicals used to grow them) and health concerns. Once consumers demanded labels on GMO foods, the biotech industry responded with a multimillion dollar public relations campaign. Yet despite spending millions to influence the media, and millions more to prevent laws requiring labels on products the industry claims are safe, Monsanto has lost the hearts and minds of consumers. The latest polls show that 93 percent of Americans support mandatory labeling of GMO foods. Chipotle has made a sound business decision, which has forced the biotech industry to stoop to a new low: vilifying businesses.
On the same day that McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook announced sweeping changes aimed at “returning excitement” to the behemoth—and struggling—fast-food chain, thousands of McDonald’s cooks and cashiers vowed to descend on the the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Illinois later this month to demand higher wages, fairer treatment, and the right to organize. “We may not have a seat in the room, but we’re sure that McDonald’s will hear us when we say that its turnaround needs to include investment in and respect for its employees,” saidAdriana Alvarez, who has worked at McDonald’s for five years, and was one of 101 workers arrested at a peaceful sit-in at last year’s shareholder meeting. Her story is common among McDonald’s employees, tens of thousands of whom have taken to the streets to protest poverty wages in recent fast-food strikes and walk-outs.
Labor organizers displeased with McDonald’s Corp.’s decision to raise wages only for workers at company-owned stores, leaving out employees at franchises, held protests across the nation Thursday. Planners said that workers in dozens of cities — including Los Angeles, New York, Detroit and Las Vegas — rallied to criticize what some called a disingenuous strategy from the fast-food giant, based in Oak Brook, Ill. At a protest at a Wilshire Boulevard McDonald’s, Jibri Range, 22, said his repeated requests to be paid more than $9 an hour at a South-Central franchise restaurant have all been rejected or ignored. He said he works four hours a week as a McDonald’s maintenance employee and relies on his mother, a full-time cafeteria worker, to help support him. His daughter will turn 4 on April 15, when fellow workers protest again, he said.
On Friday, February 13, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved the first genetically engineered apple, despite hundreds of thousands of petitions asking the USDA to reject it. In April 2013, we interviewed scientists about the genetic engineering technology used to create the Arctic Apple, whose only claim to fame is that it doesn’t turn brown when sliced. The benefit to consumers? Being able to eat apples without having any sense of how old they are? Here’s what we learned about the technology, called RNA interference, or double strand RNA (dsRNA), from Professor Jack Heinemann (University of Canterbury, New Zealand), Sarah Agapito-Tenfen (from Santa Catarina University in Brazil) and Judy Carman (Flinders University in South Australia), all of whom said that dsRNA manipulation is untested, and therefore inherently risky. . .
The law is catching up with Ronald McDonald. On Friday, the National Labor Relations Board issued 13 complaints involving 78 charges by workers that McDonald’s USA, LLC, and many of its franchisees broke the law by interfering with collective efforts to organize and improve working conditions. The complaints will now go to trial before administrative law judges , who could, for the first time, find McDonald’s guilty of violating workers’ right to organize. Until now, McDonald’s has shielded itself from liability by claiming that it’s not an actual employer. Franchisors argue that although they provide the brand name, products, techniques and other operational necessities, they leave franchisees the discretion to operate as sole employer, responsible for all labor costs, risks and obligations.
Today, the National Labor Relations Board’s chief prosecutor, General Counsel Richard Griffin, jointly charged McDonald’s and several of its franchisees with multiple violations of federal labor law. According to the NLRB’s press release, the agency will pursue 13 complaints involving 78 charges of alleged wrongdoing, while 71 cases remain under investigation. The General Counsel’s decision to treat McDonald’s (the parent corporation) and its franchisees as joint employers means that McDonald’s workers will finally have an opportunity to hold their real boss accountable. That’s a big deal. We know McDonald’s sets rigorous operating standards for its franchisees, from menus, to uniforms, to employment practices. And we know that they monitor and enforce those standards at the corporate level.
Fast food workers in at least 150 cities nationwide will walk off the job on Dec. 4, demanding an industry-wide base wage of $15 per hour and the right to form a union. Workers unanimously voted on the date for the new strike during a Nov. 25 conference call, held shortly before the second anniversary of the movement’s first strike. The first of the recent fast food strikes took place on Nov. 29, 2012, in New York City. Two hundred workers from various fast food restaurants around the city participated in that strike, making it the largest work stoppage to ever hit the fast food industry. Since then, the size of the movement has ballooned several times over: With the backing of the powerful service sector labor union SEIU, the campaign has come to include thousands of workers in the U.S. The National Worker Organizing committee, a nationwide steering group of 26 fast food workers around the country, approved the Dec. 4 strike date before it was proposed to the rest of the workers. Workers from all 150 cities involved in the campaign were then invited to vote on the date over a Nov. 25 conference call. The proposal for a strike date was put forth by Burger King and Pizza Hut employee Terrence Wise, a leader in the Kansas City, Missouri branch of the committee.
Chipotle Mexican Grill is being sued by workers in Colorado and Minnesota who accuse it of violating labor laws by purposely underpaying them. In a September 22 complaint in Colorado, the chain is accused of having “devised and implemented general policies and practices to deprive its hourly paid restaurant employees of the compensation to which they are entitled.” The practices allegedly include making employees work off the clock without pay through a number of mechanisms, one of which was using devices that automatically punched them off the clock even as they kept working. The attorneys for the different workers decided to collaborate when they realized all the workers were reporting the same problem.
McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s workers among those to walk off their jobs as movement continues to grow; home care workers join as movement spreads to new industry “All across the country right now there’s a national movement going on made up of fast-food workers organizing to lift wages so they can provide for their families with pride and dignity. There is no denying a simple truth. America deserves a raise. Give America a raise. …You know what, if I were looking for a job that lets me build some security for my family, I’d join a union. If I were busting my butt in the service industry and wanted an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work, I’d join a union. …I’d want a union looking out for me.” — President Obama, Sept 1, 2014, Milwaukee, WI Coming off a convention at which they vowed to do “whatever it takes” to win $15 and the right to form a union, fast-food workers in more than 150 cities will walk off their jobs Thursday as their movement intensifies and continues to spread. A day after President Obama praised their campaign, workers from Oakland, Calif. to Opelika, Ala., said they will strike at the country’s major fast-food restaurants, including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and KFC. Workers in Little Rock, Ark. Minneapolis, Minn; and Rochester, NY are among those who will walk off their jobs for the first time.
Fast-food workers say they’re prepared to escalate their campaign for higher wages and union representation, starting with a national convention in suburban Chicago where more than 1,000 workers will discuss the future of the effort that has spread to dozens of cities in less than two years. About 1,300 workers are scheduled to attend sessions Friday and Saturday at an expo center in Villa Park, Ill., where they’ll be asked to do “whatever it takes” to win $15-an-hour wages and a union, said Kendall Fells, organizing director of the national effort and a representative of the Service Employees International Union. The union has been providing financial and organizational support to the fast-food protests that began in late 2012 in New York City and have included daylong strikes and a protest outside this year’s McDonald’s shareholder meeting that resulted in more than 130 arrests. “We want to talk about building leadership, power and doing whatever it takes depending on what city they’re in and what the moment calls for,” said Fells, adding that the ramped-up actions will be “more high-profile” and could include everything from civil disobedience to intensified efforts to organize workers. “I personally think we need to get more workers involved and shut these businesses down until they listen to us,” perhaps even by occupying the restaurants, said Cherri Delisline, a 27-year-old single mother from Charleston, S.C., who has worked at McDonald’s for 10 years and makes $7.35 an hour.
McDonald’s closed part of its corporate headquarters on Wednesday in response to a mass protest by workers and activists that campaigners say ended in over 100 arrests. Over 2,000 people calling for a hike in the minimum wage and the right to form a union without retaliation descended on the fast food giant’s suburban Chicago headquarters in what is believed to be the largest demonstration McDonald’s has ever faced. Chanting, “Hey McDonald’s You Can’t Hide, We Can See Your Greedy Side,” and “No Big Macs, No Fries, Make our Wage Supersize,” protesters blocked the entrance to McDonald’s campus in Oakbrook, some 20 miles outside Chicago. A short walk from Hamburger University, McDonald’s training center, the protesters were confronted by a phalanx of police officers in riot gear. After they sat down the police issued two orders to disperse and arrests began. McDonald’s workers, church leaders and Service Employees International Union president Mary Kay Henry were among those arrested.