en Court Decision Halts President Obama’s Overtime Rule Change <!-- google_ad_section_start --><div class="photoright"><img alt="" src="" style="height: 217px; width: 320px;" width="320" height="217" /> <div class="caption">Pres.&nbsp;Obama signs Overtime Rule Change in 2014&nbsp;(Photo: DOL website)</div> </div> <p>As franchise and retail communities braced for the Department of Labor&#39;s new overtime rule to go into effect December 1, they have now breathed a sigh of relief due to a court decision. A district judge in Texas approved a preliminary injunction on November 22 that halted the rule change, one that would double the current salary threshold for exemption from overtime pay for employees who work more than 40 hours a week.</p> <!--break--><!--break--><p>The rule change movement first began on March 20, 2014, when President Barack Obama directed Secretary of Labor Tom Perez to investigate the proposed revision. The DOL then submitted its final rule to the Office Management and Budget division last March. The most significant proposal made was that an employee must work 40 hours and be paid a minimum salary, currently at $455 a week, or $23,660 per year, and now under the revision $970 a week, or $50,440 a year.</p> <p>In hearing the decision, the Coalition of Franchisee Associations (CFA) commended U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant blocking the DOL overtime rule, affecting more than four million workers. CFA Chairman Keith Miller remarked that the injunction &quot;applies some balance to the process and allows for an evaluation of the true impact to businesses.&quot; While not opposed to raising the salary cap, Miller said CFA supports a measured, rationally based increase that is backed by publicly reported, thoroughly vetted data.&quot;</p> <p>Rob Branca, CFA Vice Chair Rob Branca agreed saying, &quot;CFA would support a reasonable increase in the threshold, one that reflects the current economy.&quot;</p> <p>International Franchise Association President/CEO Robert Cresanti issued his statement following the court decision last month saying, &quot;Today&#39;s ruling is a serious and significant victory for the rule of law. While a modest increase in the overtime threshold would have been appropriate, many franchises were faced with difficult and costly decisions about how to reclassify their greatest assets&mdash;their employees.&quot;</p> <p>Cresanti added, &quot;Moving forward, IFA looks forward to working with the Trump administration and congressional leaders to ensure additional regulations that exceed statutory authority are addressed in short order.&quot;</p> <p>The National Restaurant Association cautiously expressed its optimism about&nbsp;the decision by the Texas district court. Cicely Simpson, NRA&#39;s executive vice president of Government Affairs and Policy said,&nbsp;&quot;This was a critical step in what we hope will be a positive outcome in the case against the Department of Labor.&quot;</p> <p>Simpson explained that while this was a positive step forward, last month&#39;s decision does not delay the overtime rule indefinitely. &quot;Additional legal actions or a final decision by the Court in favor of the Department of Labor could result in the overtime rule taking effect,&quot; she said. &quot;Therefore, the Association once again reminds our members that it is important to continue to take the necessary steps to be ready to comply.&quot; Simpson said information and resources could be found at <a href=""></a>.</p> <p>The NRA said it will be releasing an updated legal compliance handbook for its members that will explain many of the legal issues facing the restaurant industry, including the impact of the overtime rule. The executive VP said the National Restaurant Association is continuing to urge Congress to pass legislation that would modify or delay the rule&#39;s December 1st implementation date.</p> <p>Simpson cautioned, &quot;This rule is too much, too soon and it will have a far-reaching negative impact on the country&#39;s second-largest private sector industry and the millions of workers who work in our nation&#39;s more than one million restaurants.&quot;&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>President Obama blocked for fourth time by Texas federal judge </strong></p> <p><a href="'sSignature">Fortune magazine</a>&nbsp;reported that the court decision will be &quot;imperiling one of the outgoing president&#39;s signature achievements for boosting wages.&quot; It further stated that Mazzant, who was appointed by President Obama, ruled that the federal law governing overtime does not allow the Labor Department to decide which workers are eligible based on salary levels alone.&quot; Judge Mazzant said in his 20-page ruling that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) states that employees can be exempt from overtime if they perform executive, administrative or professional duties, but the rule &quot;creates essentially a de facto salary-only test.&quot;</p> <p>A spokesman for the Labor Department said it strongly disagrees with the court decision and it remains confident that the entire rule is legal, and it is currently considering its options. The DOL can appeal to the New Orleans, Louisiana-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but that court has stymied the Obama administration before, blocking Obama&#39;s executive actions on immigration in 2015, Fortune reported adding, &quot;In any case, the Labor Department could drop the appeal after Republican President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January.&quot;</p> <p>Trump had expressed in August that the overtime rule was an example of the type of burdensome business regulations he would seek to roll back as president, perhaps by exempting small businesses or delaying implementation. Fortune states, &quot;Even if the rule survived the legal challenge, it could be upended by legislation passed by Congress or withdrawn by Trump&#39;s Department of Labor.&quot;</p> <p>A Bloomberg report stated that the court decision November 22 was a &quot;victory for 21 states and dozens of business groups that sued, complaining the new rule would increase government costs in their states by $115 million next year alone and would put private employers on the hook for millions of dollars more, possibly leading to layoffs.&quot; It said, &quot;It&#39;s the fourth time in 21 months that a federal judge in Texas has issued a nationwide injunction blocking one of President Barack Obama&#39;s executive orders.</p> <hr /> <p><strong>Related Articles: </strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank">DOL Statement on Overtime Litigation </a><strong> </strong></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Restaurants, Retail Cencerned about Overtime Rule Change</a><strong> </strong></li> <li><a href="'sSignature" target="_blank">Judge Just Blocked Obama Administration&#39;s Signature Overtime Rule</a><strong> </strong>(Fortune)<strong> </strong></li> <li><a href=" Overtime Pay Mandate Blocked" target="_blank">Obama White-Collar Overtime Pay Mandate Blocked</a> (Bloomberg)</li> </ul> <!-- google_ad_section_end --> Politics CFA Chairman Keith Miller Cicely Simpson Coalition of Franchisee Associations Department of Labor Overtime Rule Change Fair Labor Standards Act IFA CEO Robert Cresanti imperiling signature achievements boosting wages National Restaurant Association President Barack Obama President-elect Donald Trump Rob Branca Secretary of Labor Tom Perez U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant Wed, 07 Dec 2016 21:51:05 +0000 Janet Sparks 15616 at Restaurant Traffic Stalls Then Drops <!-- google_ad_section_start --><div class="photoright"><img alt="Empty line at a SaladWorks restaurant" src="" style="width: 320px; height: 179px;" /> <div class="caption">Empty line at a SaladWorks franchise (photo/bmm)</div> </div> <p>After two consecutive quarters of flat-lined consumer visits, U.S. restaurants had a turn for the worse: a decline in traffic during the third quarter of 2016, according to a major foodservice researcher. And if that news wasn&#39;t&nbsp;bad enough, for the first time in five years&nbsp;the quick service restaurant sector had a decline in consumers.</p> <!--break--><!--break--><p>Squeezed wallets, the rising cost of dining out, and changing consumer expectations are some of the reasons that restaurant visits have come to a halt in the first two quarters of 2016 and then finally declined, reports researcher The NPD Group. Total foodservice visits dropped by 1 percent in the third quarter compared to same quarter last year. Quick service restaurant traffic, which represents 80 percent of total industry visits, dropped for the first time in five years, according to NPD&#39;s ongoing foodservice market research.</p> <p>&quot;The term growing your business in a &#39;one percent world&#39; has become a popular mantra for the restaurant industry after six consecutive years of annual traffic gains of just one percent,&quot; says Bonnie Riggs, restaurant industry analyst at NPD. &quot;However, over the past six months restaurant industry traffic growth has come to a standstill and quick service restaurants, which have been the traffic growth drivers, are now experiencing a slowdown in visits.&quot;</p> <p>Riggs, who recently authored a report entitled, Losing Our Appetites for Restaurants, points out that there are multiple reasons why consumers have pulled back on visiting restaurants and chief among them is cost. She states in her report that rising healthcare costs and/or student debt have reduced the amount of disposable income consumers have in their wallets. According to a survey of the longitudinal panelists participating in NPD&#39;s receipt mining service, Checkout Tracking, 75 percent of the respondents who have decreased their visits to restaurants say they watch how they spend their money on most or all purchases, and a high percentage of these respondents think that restaurant prices are too high. The fact is the cost of the average restaurant meal has risen 21 percent over the last decade. With lower grocery prices, the price gap between eating at home and dining out is widening. Eighty-two percent of all meals are now consumed in-home.</p> <p>&quot;The marketplace is changing and despite improving economic indicators, the consumer landscape is fundamentally reshaped,&quot; says Riggs. &quot;What hasn&#39;t changed and won&#39;t change is the consumer&#39;s need for foodservice; it saves them time and provides them with an experience. Restaurant operators will need to look for ways to differentiate themselves from the competition. They will need to find the means to stay relevant in consumers&#39; minds &ndash; innovative products, unique promotions, competitive pricing, stating the benefits of eating at restaurants compared to home &ndash; while delivering an enjoyable experience.&quot;</p> <!-- google_ad_section_end --> Trends casual dining QSR restaurant traffic restaurant trends Tue, 06 Dec 2016 18:31:18 +0000 Don Sniegowski 15614 at November Private-Sector Jobs Strong while Franchise Hiring Moderate <!-- google_ad_section_start --><p>The United States added a moderate 15,100 jobs in November of 2016, according to the ADP Research Institute. Restaurant franchises and auto dealerships had the largest number of hires, while business service franchises dropped by a thousand.</p> <p>Despite a moderate increase in jobs among franchises, in contrast&nbsp;the economy saw strong hiring numbers in November. All private sector employment increased by 216,000 jobs from October to November, according to the November ADP National Employment Report. The report is derived from ADP&#39;s actual payroll data, measuring the change in total nonfarm private employment and franchise employment each month on a seasonally-adjusted basis.</p> <p>&quot;For the month of November 2016 we saw very strong job growth that has almost doubled in gains over October 2016,&quot; said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and head of the ADP Research Institute about the increase in private-sector jobs.&nbsp;&quot;This growth was seen in primarily consumer-driven industries like retail and leisure and hospitality -- across all company sizes. Overall, consumers are feeling confident and are driving the strong performance we currently see in the job market.&quot;</p> <p>Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody&#39;s Analytics, added: &quot;Businesses hired aggressively in November and there is little evidence that the uncertainty surrounding the presidential election dampened hiring.&nbsp;In addition, because of the tightening labor market, retailers may be accelerating seasonal hiring to secure an adequate workforce to meet holiday demand, although total expected seasonal hiring may be no higher than last year&#39;s.&quot;&nbsp;</p> <p class="rtecenter"><img alt=" U.S. Added 15,100 Franchise Jobs in November, According to ADP National Franchise Report " src="" /></p> <!-- google_ad_section_end --> Trends Mon, 05 Dec 2016 19:47:51 +0000 Don Sniegowski 15611 at CEO Nolan Is Smashburger’s Latest Casualty <!-- google_ad_section_start --><p>The Smashburger franchised hamburger chain has appointed its chief brand officer Thomas Ryan as its new CEO and president, following former CEO Michael Nolan&#39;s abrupt departure Tuesday. </p> <!--break--><!--break--><p> Ryan, a co-founder of Smashburger, has filled various positions in other holdings under private equity firms Consumer Capital Partners and Cervantes Holdings. These two private equity firms are under the ownership of Richard &quot;Rick&quot; Schaden, former owner and CEO of the troubled Quiznos sandwich chain.</p> <p>After hearing rumors of corporate shuffling, Blue MauMau confirmed the personnel change in a telephone call this morning to Smashburger&#39;s corporate headquarters.</p> <p>Smashburger executives have recently been caught in a revolving door at the company&#39;s corporate headquarters in Denver. Former CEO Nolan was hired for Smashburger&#39;s top position after Scott Crane stepped down in April 2016. At the time, the company sent employees and franchisees a memo stating it was time for Smashburger to move in a new direction, giving no other explanation for the leadership shakeup. Crane&#39;s immediate predecessor David Prokupek had also resigned from his CEO post without public explanation. After leaving, Prokupek sued Smashburger and Consumer Capital Partners, claiming that they deceptively cheated him out of millions in stock.</p> <p>Prior to joining Smashburger, Nolan served as executive vice president and chief development officer for CBC Restaurant Corporation, owner of Corner Bakery Caf&eacute;, in Dallas starting in 2014. He also served as vice president and chief development officer for Bloomin&#39; Brands and Panera bread company, respectively.</p> <p>On November 9, the chain appointed Glenn M. Moon as director of franchise sales, not stating who he was replacing. Moon came from Choice Hotels. On September 26, Smashburger announced the appointment of Mark Ramage as director of franchise development, who had previously been with Rave Restaurant Group.</p> <p>Smashburger&#39;s chief marketing officer Josh Kern stepped down from his position on September 20, after serving in his role for less than two years. He previously held the position of CMO for Consumer Capital Partners, CCP, which owns Smashburger, and its sister brands Tom&#39;s Urban and Live Basil Pizza.</p> <p>Then on May 25, Smashburger stated it was bringing in Gregg Koffler as its senior vice president of franchise sales and administration. Koffler had previously been with Corner Bakery Caf&eacute; where he oversaw the franchise sales department, adding over 400 franchises to the development pipeline.</p> <p>Last May Smashburger had named Tom Ryan, who is now taking over the CEO/president position, as its chief brand officer. The company stated of the move that it &quot;continues making moves to evolve its business and grow more aggressively.&quot; A Restaurant News report quoted Rick Schaden, Smashburger&#39;s chairman, saying: &quot;As we set an aggressive growth pace, maintaining the integrity of the Smashburger brand is paramount.&quot;</p> <p>The Denver Business Journal stated last April when Mike Nolan stepped in as Smashburger&#39;s CEO position that the hamburger chain has now opened 365 restaurants since its 2007 founding by Tom Ryan and Rick Schaden. In the interview, Nolan remarked that he didn&#39;t plan to make any immediate changes, but would examine the number of initiatives that Scott Crane put into place. &quot;I absolutely believe in Smashburger. It possesses the potential to grow as a national brand well over the 1,000-store size.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;But Crane acknowledged that around the time he moved up to become CEO in November 2013, sales growth had slowed and that [company] officials believed they needed to increase brand recognition and [consumer] understanding in addition to opening new stores,&quot; the Business Journal reported.</p> <p>Schaden gives a hint on why the CEO may have been replaced in that there was a gap between slowing sales of franchises and the company&#39;s lofty goal to increase the chain&#39;s size in a major jump.</p> <p>At that time, chairman Rick Schaden stated, &quot;At Smashburger we continue to set aggressive goals for quality, value, service and sales on an increasingly large scale.&quot;</p> <hr /> <p><strong>Related articles</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><a href="">Smashburger CMO Josh Kern Resigns</a></li> <li><a href="">Tom Ryan Named Chief Brand Officer at Smashburger</a></li> <li><a href="">Smashburger Appoints Gregg Koffler as New Serior VP of Franchise Sales, Administration</a></li> <li><a href="">As Smashburger CEO Crane Leaves, Long Live Chief Nolan</a></li> <li><a href="">Smashburger appoints new CEO, Prokupek leaves</a></li> <li><a href="">Smashburger CEO Scott Crane forges ahead with chain&#39;s growth</a></li> <li><a href="">Avenue Capital sues Quiznos former ownership&nbsp;for fraud</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">What Quiznos Changes Mean for Smashburger</a>&nbsp;| QSR Magazine</li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">New Quiznos owners Avenue Capital, Fortress Holdings sue old Quiznos&#39; owners Schaden and Consumer Capital Partners</a></li> <li>2014 Top 20 Fastest Growing Concepts,&nbsp;Smashburger listed #8 for 2014 in under 300 units listing</li> </ul> <!-- google_ad_section_end --> Leadership change Cervantes Holdings Consumer Capital Partners Quiznos Rick Schaden Smashburger Fri, 02 Dec 2016 22:51:15 +0000 Janet Sparks 15605 at Starbucks CEO Schultz Stepping Aside to Focus on Ultra-Premium Concept <!-- google_ad_section_start --><div class="photoright"><img alt="Starbucks Johnson &amp;amp; Schultz" src="" style="width: 320px; height: 252px;" width="320" height="252" /> <div class="caption">Left-right: Kevin Johnson, Howard Schultz (Starbucks photo)</div> </div> <p>Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX) announced on Thursday that effective April 3, 2017, Howard Schultz&nbsp;will vacate his CEO position and be appointed executive chairman. He&nbsp;will continue in his present position as chairman of the board.&nbsp;</p> <!--break--><!--break--><p>He will shift his focus to innovation, design and development of the Starbucks Reserve&nbsp;Roasteries around the world, expansion of the Starbucks Reserve retail store format and the company&rsquo;s social impact initiatives.&nbsp;The&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Seattle&nbsp;Roastery</a>&nbsp;opened two years ago.&nbsp;Coffee at ultra-premium Starbucks Reserve restaurants will be&nbsp;pricier than at other Starbucks locations.</p> <p>Said Schultz,&nbsp;&ldquo;You may recall that it was three years ago that I shared with you what I sensed were the early signs of a seismic shift in consumer behavior &ndash; away from bricks-and-mortar and towards mobile and online retailing. Today, that shift has taken firm hold around the world, both disrupting and redefining retailing and significantly reducing the consumer foot-traffic that traditional retailers have relied on for decades.&nbsp;&hellip;I also shared with you the view that the U.S. was over-retailed. To survive &ndash; let alone succeed &ndash; traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers would have to evolve their physical spaces into relevant customer destinations, as Starbucks stores have been for the last 40 years through&nbsp;the environments we create and the beverages and foods we serve &ndash;&nbsp;and create premiumized, experiential consumer venues.</p> <p>&ldquo;That view is what inspired development of the Starbucks Roastery and Reserve brand.&nbsp;&hellip;I am personally as passionate about developing the Reserve brand, and opening more Roasteries, as I was about opening our first espresso bar more than 30 years ago in Seattle.&rdquo;</p> <p>Schultz&rsquo;s replacement will be Kevin Johnson, presently president and chief operating officer and a 7-year member of the Starbucks board of directors. He will continue as president and assume the role of CEO, also effective April 3, 2017.</p> <p>Johnson&#39;s career spans 33 years in the technology industry, which included a 16-year career at Microsoft and a 5-year tour as CEO of Juniper Networks. At Microsoft&nbsp;he led worldwide sales and marketing and became the president of the Platforms Division. In 2008&nbsp;he was appointed to the National Security Telecommunication Advisory Committee where he served Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He joined the Starbucks board in 2009 and the management team in 2015.</p> <!-- google_ad_section_end --> Leadership change Fri, 02 Dec 2016 15:11:59 +0000 BMM Staff 15604 at Fight for $15 Day of Disruption Protests Lives Up to Its Name <!-- google_ad_section_start --><p><img alt="" src="" style="height: 240px; width: 320px; float: right; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;" width="320" height="240" /></p> <p>As Fight for $15 launched its &quot;Day of Disruption&quot; protest across the country on Tuesday, November 29, marking its fourth anniversary when 200 fast-food workers first walked off their jobs at dozens of restaurants across New York City demanding $15 an hour minimum wage and the right to form a union without retaliation, the event was not without pandemonium.</p> <!--break--><!--break--><p>Fast food workers, airport employees and even Uber drivers who joined the protests were arrested outside of McDonald&#39;s restaurants from New York to Chicago early Tuesday morning during the kickoff of the organized activity. Fight for $15 expressed that it expected &quot;civil disobedience&quot; throughout the day as they began their strikes in 340 cities, including twenty major airports.</p> <p>In Detroit, dozens of workers wearing shirts that read, &quot;My Future Is My Freedom&quot; linked arms in front of a McDonald&#39;s and sat down in the street. As they were handcuffed, hundreds of supporters chanted, &quot;No justice, no peace.&quot; <img align="right" alt="" src="" width="204" height="272" />In Manhattan&#39;s Financial District, dozens of fast-food and airport workers placed a banner reading &quot;We Won&#39;t Back Down&quot; on the street in front of a McDonald&#39;s on Broadway and a sat down in a circle, blocking traffic, until they were hauled away by police officers. Councilmembers Brad Lander, Mark Levine and Antonio Reynoso and State Assembly Member Francisco Moya were arrested while supporting the workers (pictured at right). &nbsp;And in Cambridge, dozens of workers and elected leaders were arrested for blocking the street outside a McDonald&#39;s on Massachusetts Avenue.</p> <p>U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) issued a statement in support of the protesting workers: &quot;When I talk to people on the picket lines in Minnesota and around the country, they tell me they&#39;re striking for a better life for their kids and their families. They tell me they&#39;re working harder than ever, and still struggling to make ends meet. In the wealthiest country in the world, nobody working full time should be living in poverty. But the power of protest and working people&#39;s voices can make all the difference. Politics might be the art of the possible, but organizing is the art of making more possible. Workers around the country are fighting to make better working conditions and better wages possible. And I stand with them.&quot;</p> <p>Later in the day Rev. William Barber II, the architect of the Forward Together movement, was arrested in Durham, North Carolina for participating in the protests. And police in Birmingham, Alabama refused to arrest striking workers outside a McDonald&#39;s, telling them they support their cause and that everyone should earn a living wage.</p> <p>CBS News reported that McDonald&#39;s worker Terrance Wise, who traveled to New York City from his hometown of Kansas City, Missouri to take part in the protests said spending Tuesday in a New York City jail was a &quot;beautiful thing.&quot; Wise stated, &quot;I went to jail to make sure my kids have a better future. As I sat behind the bars, I thought about why I was there, how I&#39;ll make the American public confront this thing we have going on, wage and racial inequality in this country.&quot;</p> <p>Wise, whose mother worked at Hardees, descibes himself as a second-generation fast-food worker who now earns $9 an hour and struggles to make ends meet. He and his fiancee, who have three daughters, struggled with homelessness a few years ago, even though both of them were working at the time, CBS News reported. Wise said living on low wages is constantly a hustle, a juggling act. He said, &quot;It&#39;s the simple things we miss out on, such as the ballet shoes he wasn&#39;t able to afford for his daughter&#39;s dance class. Fifteen dollars an hour and union rights would make my family a stable family. To keep the lights and gas on at the same time.&quot;</p> <p>President-elect Donald Trump has made contradictory statements about wages, first describing them as &quot;too high,&quot; and then professing support for boosting the baseline wage to $15. Wise said, &quot;Whether you are a Trump supporter or a Hillary supporter, we all get up every day and we work. Today sent a strong message, not only in New York, that workers are stronger than ever, and we have to increase our efforts, take bolder action. That&#39;s what you&#39;ll see from the Fight for $15.&quot;</p> <p><strong>Fight for $15 having its effect </strong></p> <p>Since then the organization has grown into what it calls a &quot;global phenomenon&quot; that includes workers from not only fast-food restaurants but also home and child care agencies, retail outlets, airports, building services, and other businesses in cities worldwide. Fight for $15 declared its success yesterday saying, &quot;Workers have taken what many viewed as an outlandish proposition, $15 an hour minimum wage, and made it the new labor standard in New York, California, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Home care workers in Massachusetts and Oregon won $15 an hour statewide minimum wages, and companies including Facebook, Aetna, Amalgamated Bank, JP Morgan Chase and Nationwide Insurance have raised pay to $15 an hour or higher. Workers in nursing homes, public schools and hospitals have won $15 an hour via collective bargaining.&quot;</p> <p>In all, the Fight for $15 has led to wage hikes for 22 million underpaid workers, including more than 10 million who are on their way to a $15 an hour wage. By joining together, speaking out and going on strike workers in the Fight for $15 have elevated the debase around inequality in the United States and &quot;entirely changed the politics of our country, the organization states. The movement was credited as one of the reasons median income jumped last year by the highest percentage since the 1960s, as reported by <a href="">The Washington Post</a>. And Fight for $15 has completely &quot;rewired how the public and politicians think about wages,&quot; a report by told. It called it &quot;the most successful progressive political project of the late Obama era, both practically and philosophically.&quot;</p> <p>During yesterday&#39;s &quot;Day of Disruption&quot; protests, Dayla Mikell, a child care worker in St. Petersburg, Florida expressed her view on Twitter, &quot;Risking arrest today isn&#39;t the easy path, but it&#39;s the right one. My job is all about caring for the next generation, but I&#39;m not paid enough to be able to afford my own apartment or car. Families like mine and millions of others across the country demand $15, union rights and a fair economy that lifts up all of us, no matter our race, our ethnicity or our gender. And when it&#39;s your future on the line, you do whatever it takes to make sure you are heard far and wide.&quot;</p> <hr /> <p><strong>Related Articles: </strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Fight for $15 Low-Wage Workers Ready to Strike in 340 Cities November 29</a></li> <li><a href=" Middle Class Incomes Had Their Fastest Growth on Record Last Year" target="_blank">Middle Class Incomes Had Their Fastest Growth on Record Last Year</a> The Washington Post</li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">The Fight for $15 Is Unreasonable. That&#39;s Why It&#39;s Winning</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">For Minimum-wage Activists, Jail Time Comes with the Fight</a> CBS News</li> </ul> <!-- google_ad_section_end --> Politics day of disruption Fight for $15 Forward Together Rev. William Barber II SEIU Thu, 01 Dec 2016 00:22:14 +0000 Janet Sparks 15601 at Fight for $15 Low-Wage Workers Ready to Strike in 340 Cities November 29 <!-- google_ad_section_start --><p><img alt="" src="" style="height: 120px; width: 320px; float: right; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;" width="320" height="120" />At precisely 6 a.m. on Tuesday, November 29, 2016, tens of thousands of low wage workers under the &quot;Fight for $15&quot; movement for higher minimum wage and union rights vow to kick start their most disruptive protest yet in 340 cities. That includes some 20 major airports, servicing 2 million passengers a day.</p> <!--break--><!--break--><p>The planned event, marking Fight for $15&#39;s fourth anniversary, was prompted by the threat of newly-elected politicians and newly-empowered corporate special interests threatening &quot;an extremist agenda to more the country to the right.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Americans are united around our desire for a better future for our kids and an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top,&quot; said Betty Douglas, a McDonald&#39;s worker from St. Louis, Missouri who is paid $7.90 an hour after eight years on the job. She stated, &quot;We are also protesting to reject the politics of divisiveness that tears America apart by race, religion, ethnicity and gender. And we won&#39;t back down until the economy is fixed for all workers and we win justice for all people in our nation.&quot;</p> <p>Hundreds of subcontracted baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, janitors and wheelchair attendants at Chicago O&#39;Hare International Airport, the world&#39;s fourth busiest, will be striking against unfair labor practices by their employers, including retaliation, intimidation, threats and harassment when workers attempt to come together. Other major airports that will be targeted are the Los Angeles International Airport and Newark International Airport. &quot;Every day we make sure passengers get to their gates safely, get their luggage and get on a clean plane, but our families can&#39;t get by,&quot;&nbsp;said Nancy Vasquez, a skycap at Newark Liberty International Airport, who earns just $2.10 an hour plus whatever unreliable tips she can get.&nbsp;&quot;If huge corporations like the major airlines and McDonald&#39;s paid us $15 an hour and respected our right to form a union, our lives and this country would be very different. The Fight for $15 shows that we have to take action, and even risk arrest, and that&#39;s what we&#39;re going to do&nbsp;Nov. 29.&quot;</p> <p>During a press call last Monday, Fight for $15 representatives said their focus for next week&#39;s protest isn&#39;t solely to raise the minimum wage and unionize workers. They also hope to block attacks on workers&#39; rights, including efforts to change or repeal Obamacare.</p> <p>Thousands of fast-food cooks and cashiers will walk off their jobs on Tuesday to call on McDonald&#39;s and other fast-food employers to raise minimum wage to $15 an hour and respect workers&#39; right to form a union without retaliation. Workers, including baggage handlers, fast-food cooks, home care workers, child care teachers and graduate assistants, spanning the economy from Detroit to Denver will also be demanding the pay raise and union rights.</p> <p>In the press call Monday, Marvette Hodge, a home care worker from Richmond, Virginia who is paid $9 an hour, said: &quot;The Fight for $15 has shifted the way our country talks about economic and racial injustice and inequality in our democracy. But our fight isn&#39;t over, in fact, we are standing up in larger numbers to show that divisiveness has no place in this country. Our movement is resilient and unstoppable, and I will never stop fighting for an America where all work is valued and every family in every community has the opportunity to thrive.&quot;</p> <p>The Fight for $15 has led to wage hikes for 22 million underpaid workers, including more than 10 million who are on their way to $15 an hour, by convincing everyone from voters to politicians to corporations to raise pay. Their movement was credited as one of the reasons median income jumped last year by the highest percentage since the 1960s.</p> <p><strong>Low wage workers link arms&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </strong></p> <p>In the United States, the protests mark an intensification of the participation in the Fight for $15 of airport workers, who have been linking arms with fast food underpaid workers as the movement has grown. Skycaps, baggage handlers and cabin cleaners point to jobs at the nation&#39;s airports as a symbol of what&#39;s gone wrong for workers and their jobs. &nbsp;Four decades ago, every job in an airport was a good, family-sustaining one. Workers worked for the major airlines, which paid a living wage, provided pensions and health care and respected workers&#39; right to a union. That&#39;s no longer the case. Today, most airport workers are nonunion and are employed by subcontractors that pay low wages, without any benefits. Their jobs now represent the failures of a political and economic system geared towards the wealthy few and corporate profits at any cost.</p> <p>Fight for $15 said this election year workers made their movement a hot button political issue in the race for the White House through an effort to mobilize underpaid voters. Workers dogged candidates throughout the primary and general election debates, calling on candidates to &quot;come get our vote&quot; and forcing presidential hopefuls to address their demands for $15/hour. Strikes and protests at more than a dozen debates forced candidates on both sides of the aisle to address workers&#39; growing calls for higher pay and union rights.</p> <p>This summer, the Democratic Party adopted a platform that includes a $15/hour minimum wage, and recently even Republican elected leaders, including Mr. Trump (who had earlier said wages are &quot;too high&quot;),&nbsp;began to break from their opposition to raising pay.</p> <hr /> <p><strong>Related Articles: </strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank">No, &#39;Economic Anxiety&#39; Doesn&#39;t Explain Donald Trump</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Hundredsof O&#39;Hare Workers to Strike Next Week as Part of Fight for $15 Protests</a></li> <li> <div><a href="" target="_blank">Fight for 15 Plans Most Disruptive Wage Protest and Strike after Thanksgiving</a></div> </li> </ul> <!-- google_ad_section_end --> People airport strikes disruptive protest Fight for $15 low wage worker strikes National Day of Disruption Obamacare President-elect Trump SEIU Sat, 26 Nov 2016 01:04:55 +0000 Janet Sparks 15591 at Societal Shifts Shape Thanksgiving Traditions <!-- google_ad_section_start --><p><img alt="" src="" style="height: 213px; width: 320px; float: right; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;" />Changes in economic, ethnic, generations, health, pop culture, and social structure are changing Thanksgiving traditions. Thanksgiving is now a meal with family or &quot;family&quot; redefined, a shopping experience, an entertainment experience, and, for many, a workday. </p> <!--break--><!--break--><p> An aspect of Thanksgiving tradition that has remained the same is that most Americans choose to celebrate the meal in a home, theirs or someone else&#39;s.</p> <p>Here&#39;s what researchers at The NPD Group and its partner CultureWaves, which looks at consumer behavioral data, says are forces that are influencing new Thanksgiving traditions:</p> <p><strong>Generational</strong>- Baby Boomers are less about maintaining how things always have been and are focused on making connections. Members of Generation X are all about mashing traditions with things that give them joy. Millennials find themselves nostalgic for family tradition, but also suspicious of media-generated traditions that have little to do with what they actually lived.</p> <p><strong>Cultural Influence</strong> &ndash; Consumers identify with multiple cultures, whether its their own or someone else&#39;s. We&#39;re likely to see is pieces of various world cultures fitting into the traditional American Thanksgiving meal in unexpected ways&mdash;like a Szechuan green bean casserole, Japanese <em>maki sushi</em> (see photo) or mashed potatoes made with Manchego cheese.</p> <p>&quot;The key point is that as American culture evolves, the core of each American holiday is becoming focused on the people over the celebration itself,&quot; says Locke Hilderbrand, executive vice president and chief insights officer of CultureWaves. &quot;Holidays are now an outlet in which to connect, regardless of what cultural traditions may or may not be present. This allows for new holiday events and occasions to be created, as more families and friends intertwine their traditions and customs to create new ones that celebrate personal tradition.&quot;</p> <p>Regardless of how the celebration is changing, the Thanksgiving dinner is really an at home occasion, according to NPD Group, which continually tracks all aspects of how U.S. consumers eat:</p> <ul> <li>48% of Americans eat their Thanksgiving meal at home that day, while another 44% eat in someone else&#39;s home. Only 3% had their big meal at a full service restaurant</li> <li>The meal most likely to be eaten at a restaurant on Thanksgiving is breakfast &mdash; 19% of consumers eat breakfast at a restaurant</li> <li>Restaurant take out, on the other hand, is something Americans take advantage of on Thanksgiving: <ul> <li>29% of Thanksgiving Day holiday celebrations include an item sourced ready-to-eat from foodservice</li> <li>57% include items that were &quot;completely homemade&quot; from a restaurant or foodservice outlet</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <p>&quot;As much as things change, we know that many of the traditional Thanksgiving foods have remained the same,&quot; says David Portalatin, vice president, food industry analyst at NPD Group and author of the recently published Eating Patterns in America. &quot;The majority of Thanksgiving feasts will include a turkey, although that turkey may be dressed in non-traditional spices and flavorings. And even with all of the changes going on in our society, we have managed to keep the spirit of the first Thanksgiving intact, and that is sharing a meal and spending time with family, friends, or whomever one chooses.&quot;</p> <!-- google_ad_section_end --> Trends Tue, 22 Nov 2016 14:38:59 +0000 Don Sniegowski 15583 at