‘Can We Get Some Worker Justice Along With Our Fries and Burgers?’

by on July 31, 2018 · 1 comment

in Civil Rights

By Peter Zschiesche

We have heard the argument against the “Fight for 15” campaign, which tells us fast food jobs require no skill and no expertise and, therefore, are not worthy of making $15 per hour.

That argument is rubbish, something fast food chain employers know all too well — and the primary reason behind their ‘no poaching’ policies. These policies allows food chains to block workers from changing branches in search of better pay or promotions, all while the company pays the lowest wage they can. In fact, they will even cheat these skilled workers on their already low wages hoping nobody reports them to our local Employee Rights Center or the State Labor Commissioner’s office.

Now, according to the Associated Press, the state of Washington has busted several food chains, including McDonald’s, Arby’s, Carl’s Jr., and Buffalo Wild Wings for having such policies that violate the state’s anti-trust laws. The state’s attorney general said businesses must compete for workers just as they compete with other businesses. Those chains have agreed to settle legal claims by ending those practices.

Since the state of Washington’s action against these chains, a coalition of Democratic state attorney generals are starting their own investigation of several chains’ “no-poach” agreements including Burger King, Dunkin Donuts, Little Caesars, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and Panera Bread. Yes, being a Democrat in these states can make a difference for these workers.

So all the claims by these businesses to favor the “free market” and honor “competition” are hollow when it comes to their own employees, whom they chained with these policies. They conspired to hold their workers back in order to keep their wages as low as possible. Surprised?

This is not one or two bad employers. These are many major chains in the fast food industry.

This kind of exploitation is only possible because these employers do not have unions to hold their greed in check. Their workers are not empowered to fight back or even file claims without fear of retaliation and losing their jobs. They have no union contract that could have negotiated workers’ transfer rights between locations. Our unions are the best tool for workplace justice.

Anyone who knows of this kind of situation here in San Diego should report it to the Employee Rights Center in City Heights. Let us break these chains and get some worker justice as fast as we get our burger, fries, sandwiches, drinks, donuts, wings, pizza, or whatever.


Peter Zschiesche is a former Machinist Union Business Agent and President of IAM Local 389. Over the past 30 years, he has worked with the last 5 leaders of the San Diego Labor Council and served on its Executive Boards with 3 of them. He founded the Employee Rights Center in 1999, retired from there, and remains active on its governing body, Labor’s Alliance. He also serves as a Trustee of the Board for the San Diego Community College Board since 2002.

This was first posted at San Diego Free Press.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

sealintheSelkirks sealintheSelkirks July 31, 2018 at 2:49 pm

Hooray for my state! At least there are some people fighting and winning against the corporations who are ripping off their workers. Sure isn’t going to be the NLRB in DC doing anything to stop this kind of criminal behavior.

Unfortunately one of the very worst, Jeff Bezos the richest man in the world who owns Amazon.com, got away with his crap up here in Washington State. So far. The movement against his awful business practices is continuing…

Fast food is sickly food. Don’t feed your children this crap. Don’t let them drink speed & sugar in a can (soft drinks, why do you think Coca-Cola switched from cocaine to caffeine?). Don’t you as parents go to Walmart or buy online from Amazon. If you spend a single dime at all these places you are supporting their awful policies. Teach your children to become better than you.

Currently in my area we’re fighting Hancock Forestry ‘Investments’ who are strip mining the forests, clearcutting so badly that it makes the mountains look like a dog with mange! Big squares of missing forest all over the place in every direction. After years of their alter-ego Forest Capital Partners (same office, same phone number) doing the same thing, they continue with the practice of the last 15 years destroying the habitat in the Selkirk Range and the Huckleberry Mountains. So if you see any lumber product with their name on it at you local lumber yard, DON’T BUY IT and tell them why you won’t!

sealintheSelkirks

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