Friday, September 12, 2014

McDonald's Can No Longer Hide From Its Workers! Fight For $15 AJC Op-Ed

By: Neil Sardana, Atlanta Jobs with Justice Organizer

Last month, the National Labor Relations Board general counsel found McDonald’s Corp. to be a “joint-employer” alongside its franchisees. This legal decision could allow the corporation to be held responsible for the treatment and conditions of its franchisees’ workers and let workers unionize nationally across all stores.

It is common sense that McDonald’s should be held responsible for treatment of its workers. This is a victory for the fast-food workers movement that is fighting for a decent wage of $15 an hour, fair working conditions and the right to organize unions.

McDonald’s continues to challenge the notion it is responsible for its workers and plans to appeal the NLRB decision. However, McDonald’s and other fast-food franchisers understand the franchise model is designed to create a false barrier between the corporate entity and its workers. This allows the corporation to pay minimal wages while shifting the blame and responsibility for workers to franchisees.

Franchisers including McDonald’s have invested billions of dollars to build brands, structure franchise models, promote and sell products and establish customers across the world.

Given this, it would be ridiculous to believe corporations do not have direct control, or at least compelling influence, over the structure and operations of its franchisees. This control is needed by the corporation to protect and maintain a consistent brand and sell the same Big Mac coast to coast. This franchise model is a “godfatheresque” management style, where the corporations have all the money and power but utilize those lower on the chain (the franchise owners) to do the dirty work of keeping workers underpaid and under control.

The recent NLRB finding challenges this structure. It places accountability where it belongs, right at the top. Workers should be able to negotiate with, and hold accountable, corporations that are the ultimate beneficiaries of their labor. In this case, they are responsible for pay inequity at rates over 1,000 to 1 of compensation for CEOs vs. fast-food workers.

The franchise model hurts workers because it allows corporations to squeeze them dry while denying any responsibility. However, it also puts small franchise owners at a disadvantage and leaves them with little control over their own stores and livelihoods. Franchisees are squeezed out of their profits to pay rent, advertising and marketing costs and other mandatory franchise fees to the corporation.

Some franchise owners have spoken out against the bottom-barrel wages and absolute control McDonald’s exerts over its franchisees.

Kathryn Slater-Carter, owner of a McDonald’s franchise in Daly City, Calif., challenged the inability to offer health insurance and the low wages she was pressured by McDonald’s to pay. She worked with the California Legislature to pass a bill enabling greater rights of independent franchise owners, allowing them to control certain elements in their businesses without fear of corporate headquarters threatening to suspend their franchise.

In the “Fight For $15,” we are absolutely clear that fast-food corporations are determining how their franchisees operate. The corporations are responsible for the extremely low wages and the utilization of public welfare benefits to subsidize their work forces. This is why, from the outset, corporations and not franchisees have been the clear target for fast-food workers’ demands of $15 an hour and the right to form a union.

We celebrate this decision by the NLRB as a step in the right direction. The struggle for fair wages and respect for fast-food workers and all underpaid workers moves forward. Join us at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at 660 Boulevard NE, Atlanta, for the next ATL #FightFor15 worker rally.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

ATL to #StrikeFastFood on Thur Sept 4 @ 11:30 AM!

Fast food workers in the ATL & nationwide are going ON STRIKE Thursday, September 4.
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ATL #StrikeFastFood Rally
Thursday, September 4, 2014 at:
Join the Early Morning Rally at:

Workers across the country are standing up this week and saying: We deserve more. Our bosses pay us poverty pages, while we work hard everyday to make them millions. It’s not right. If you’re with us, spread the message by sharing this image on Facebook and Twitter right now.
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We know that we have momentum on our side. We know that people like you have our backs. And over the summer, we committed to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to get $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation.

This is our moment.

Fast food workers across the country are starting to experience what it feels like to fight for better pay and better treatment – and it’s amazing to see.

We all hope that you’ll be standing right there with us on Thursday.

Show us – show the world – that you’re with us by sharing our strike announcement over Email, Facebook, or Twitter right now.

It’s good to know we can count on you,
Workers of ATL Raise Up

Monday, May 12, 2014

MAY 15 GLOBAL STRIKE to RAI$E UP: ATL Low Wage Workers & Moral Monday UNITE!

Join Moral Monday GA & Atlanta Jobs with Justice to stand with low-wage workers in ATL + 33 nations worldwide for a GLOBAL STRIKE for $15/hr & a Union!

5:30 AM - Ponce de Leon Ave & Boulevard
10 AM -
 Moreland Ave & Glenwood Ave
1 PM - Cleopas Johnson Park: Northside Dr & Fair St
Map of all Locations + Parking

5:30 AM - Grace United Methodist: 458 Ponce de Leon Ave
10 AM -
Martha Brown United Methodist: 468 Moreland Ave
1 PM - Cleopas Johnson Park Parking Lot

Call 404-913-9595 for more info
On May 15th, fast food workers everywhere, not just the U.S. but on every continent where McDonald's operates will be standing up for $15 an hour and the right to form a union without intimidation.
Yeah. Global. Everywhere. Are you with us?
We know that profitable fast-food companies can afford to give workers a decent wage, avoid stealing from employees' paychecks, and respect our right to form a union. And with workers worldwide adding their voices, nothing can stop us.
It's time for the fast-food giants to treat the people who make and serve their food with the same respect everywhere. Spread the word and join the worldwide movement for fair wages and respect.

Follow the May 15th Strike Online @MoralMondayGA

Preview of May 15: STRIKE TO RAI$E UP! Moral Monday & Low-Wage Workers UNITE!

See a short preview of the MAY 15: STRIKE to Rai$e Up! Moral Monday & Low Wage Workers UNITE!: McDonalds Employee Connie speaks out against billion dollar fast food companies paying starvation wages at Moral Monday GA Rally for Workers' Rights and Economic Justice.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

An Open Letter to Governor Nathan Deal from Moral Monday GA

By Moral Monday Georgia, April 30, 2014

Dear Governor Nathan Deal,

As of last night, at the stroke of midnight, the clock of human progress turned back decades. You have caused unfair, unjust and harmful consequences for regular everyday Georgians with the passage of HB 990, HB 772, HB 714 and SB 98.

Sadly, your inaction has and will continue to cost real lives and hardships for Georgians who are already struggling. You have chosen politics over principle, a short term view of narrow self-interest over a long term vision of what's actually best for Georgia, making public policy turns that further marginalize our most vulnerable citizens while also crippling the state's prospects for economic recovery and prosperity.

Your lack of regard and compassion for the 650,000 hard working Georgians who would benefit from Medicaid expansion is very troubling. You have signed death warrants for thousands who will die needlessly every year without it. Out of your office we continued to hear the same justification for not accepting Medicaid expansion; Georgia couldn't afford it. While repeating a lie over and over again might work in your political universe it doesn't make it less of a lie. Medicaid expansion would turn the 650,000 hard working Georgians that are forced to go to the emergency center as their only means to healthcare into paying customers with access to preventative care. It would bring over 45 billion dollars of revenue and over 70,000 good paying jobs to our state. As it turns out, doing what's morally right is also economically smart.

When we and future generations look back in history, we will see a Governor who failed to understand this. That is why he restricted affordable healthcare and expanded gun rights, publicly celebrating the most dangerous and irresponsible gun bill to be passed in the country. We will see a Governor who allowed and supported attacks on the rights of women by further limited access to reproductive choice. A governor, who condoned removing unemployment benefits to the same bus drivers that protected our children during an unnecessary snow crisis. We will see a Governor that supported drug testing of food stamp recipients and continues to place roadblocks against the Affordable Care Act. You have continually shown your support for the few rich at the cost of the overwhelming poor and working class Georgians by capping income taxes, and restricting loans and scholarships for our state's students.

Georgia deserves better than this Governor Deal. When we look at the past legislative session through a moral lens we see our state's priorities with deep concern. We see a Governor more concerned with party agendas than the welfare and progress of the people he represents. Although this is of deep concern to us, we are hopeful that moral responsibility will be reflected in the future legislation of Georgia, and we are willing to organize toward that end. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, " We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope."

Reverend Raphael Warnock
Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church

Dr Francys Johnson
NAACP Georgia President

Jackie Rodriguez
Georgia Now President

Tim Franzen
American Friends Service Committee

La’die Mansfield
Global Organizing Institute

Dianne Mathiowetz
Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition

Neil Sardana
Atlanta Jobs With Justice