Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
A coalition of labor, religious and other groups are calling for a nationwide strike by fast-food employees on August 29. Erik Sherman at CBS MoneyWatch reports, Fast-food workers urged to stage nationwide strike:
The call for a strike came this week from a public relations agency
that counts both the Service Employees International Union and United
Food & Commercial Workers as clients. Both labor groups are among
dozens of local and national religious, political, and union groups
supporting the call for strikes. Last month, the same groups supported walkouts in some fast-food restaurants
across seven cities. Others that have supported the event are the
United Auto Workers, the Presbyterian Church USA, individual churches
and synagogues like St. John's Catholic Church of St. Louis, and some
members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, including Minnesota
Congressman Keith Ellison.
The groups are calling for a
minimum wage of $15 an hour for fast-food workers, along with more
protections for employees wishing to unionize. According to the U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage last year for the
nation's roughly 505,000 fast-food cooks was $9.03 an hour, which amounts to $18,780 per year. The 2.9 million food preparation and serving workers had an average hourly wage of $9, or annual income of $18,720.
For many fast-food employees, even those low wages overstate their pay.
The annual wage estimates assume full-time employment of 2,080 hours a
year, or 40 hours a week, for a full 52 weeks. Many franchises limit
workers to working part-time, which keeps them from qualifying for
health care and other benefits.
The groups pushing for a strike note that fast food is a $200 billion
a year industry, with enormously well compensated CEOs. Industry leader
McDonald's (MCD) had total revenues of $27.6 billion and profits of $5.5 billion last year.
By contrast, pro-business organizations like the Employment Policies Institute — a PR front group created by conservative advocate Richard Berman
— rightly point out that many fast-food operations are operated by
independent franchise owners who operate under tight profit margins.
Pointing to a 2010 Deloitte study
for the National Restaurant Association, EPI claims that "[t]he typical
fast-food restaurant fitting McDonald's profile spends 30 to 35 percent
of its income paying labor costs." That is only true for "multi-unit
franchise-operated" establishments, which might describe a restaurant
operating company that owns a string of locations. For a single unit
franchisee, salaries and wages ranged from 22 percent to almost 35
percent of income, including management and employee benefits.
a comparison, full-service restaurants with an average check of less
than $15 per person had labor costs of from 28 percent to just over 39
percent. That figure doesn't include tip income generally unavailable to
Franchisees also pay significant amounts to the central corporation. McDonald's, for instance, charges franchise owners 4 percent of gross sales
as well as rent. Owners are often required to buy their good and
supplies from the company, eliminating competitive pressures that could
lower expenses. Food and beverage costs at multi-unit franchise-operated
restaurants ranged from 21 percent to 36 percent of income, with a
median cost of 34.6 percent of revenue. Franchisees also may have to pay
a percentage of sales for advertising.
In other words,
the corporations that back fast-food restaurants add significant costs
to franchisees' operations. McDonald's makes almost a third of its
annual revenue from franchisees. So even if only a minority of the
operations are directly owned and run by the big companies, the low
wages that many of the franchisees claim they need to make a profit
effectively subsidize the global corporation.
So frachisees and their employees are both getting screwed to subsidize multi-national corporations. These corporate behemoths are further subsidized by taxpayers who provide assistance to low-wage workers under public safety net programs. The "enemy," if you will, is the multi-national corporation without a conscience, driven only by its insatiable greed to increase profits. Franchisees should join arm-in-arm with their employees on the picket line against their corporate oppressors.
The AFL-CIO has more information about the national strike. Nationwide Fast-Food Strike Set for Aug. 29 – AFL-CIO:
The growing movement for a living wage and justice for fast-food and other low-wage workers will reach another milestone next week with a nationwide strike set for Aug. 29.
* * *
The strike is set for the day after the 50th anniversary of the March on
Washington for Jobs and Freedom. One of the historic march’s demands
was to "give all Americans a decent standard of living," and it called
for a minimum wage of $2 per hour. Adjusted for inflation, that would
equal $15.26 an hour today.
* * *
Fast food is a $200 billion a year industry and retail is a $4.7
trillion industry, yet many service workers across the country earn
minimum wage or just above it and are forced to rely on public
assistance programs to provide for their families and get health care
for their children. The median age in the fast-food industry is older
than 28 and more than one-quarter of fast-food workers are raising at least one child.
Learn more at Low Pay Is Not OK.