Protests against McDonalds and Other Chains in U.S. Spread to Other Countries
Worldwide protests against major franchise fast food chains took place in over 30 countries on May 15. The protests first began in New York at the end of 2012 and are being heavily promoted by the Service Employees International Union (S.E.I.U.). The primary goal is to increase wages to $15 per hour. Observers report that the majority of the protesters are not employees but rather members and supporters of various unions and especially the S.E.I.U. It was reported that the protests were discussed at a meeting in New York of union leaders and fast food workers from a number of countries, called by the global union federation IUF (International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations).
Many believe that the protests are part of a larger campaign underwritten by the S.E.I.U. to gain influence and support from employees in the fast food industry and especially the large chains like McDonalds, Burger King and KFC. As unions in the U.S. face reduced membership and declining influence large franchise chains represent a tempting target. Fast-food workers have long been considered tough to unionize, since most are part-timers who don't stay on the job for long. The National Restaurant Association called the actions "nothing more than big labor's attempt to push their own agenda."
The continuing protests and actions promoted by the S.E.I.U. fail to recognize the differences between franchisees and the franchisor but rather treat both groups as a single entity. It would appear that the S.E.I.U. and its supporters will not go away.