January 16, 2009 Volume 110 Number 2
SEIU demands ‘McJustice’
Protesters denounce anti-union stance at 100 McDonalds locations
Around the United States, members and staff of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) went to McDonald’s Dec. 18 — to protest the company’s opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act. EFCA is a bill in Congress that would make it easier for workers to form a union and win a first contract.
The protests were a response to a Nov. 25 memo to all 2,400 company franchisees from McDonald’s USA President Don Thompson, which urged them to contact senators and representatives to oppose the Employee Free Choice Act. A copy of the memo was leaked to Crain’s Chicago Business magazine. The memo said the legislation, if enacted, would “impact the McDonald’s system.” Accordingly, Thompson wrote, McDonald’s had formed an internal “response team” to help franchisees “actively participate in the opposition to EFCA.”
SEIU said its protesters visited nearly 100 McDonald’s locations nationwide. Protesters passed out leaflets that asked, “How does McDonald’s really feel about America’s workers,” and noted that the McDonald’s CEO earns the equivalent of $6,250 an hour, while workers are paid an average of $8.11 an hour.
After the protests, the company released a statement saying their reported position against EFCA was a “misrepresentation” and that they “try not to take sides in political issues.”
No McDonald’s location in the United States is unionized.