Phony fight for 15

Bloomberg News reported last week on a protest near McDonald’s headquarters. The protest seemed to have something to do with the minimum wage:

More than 100 McDonald’s (MCD) employees and some labor and clergy members were arrested after protesting for increased wages near the fast-food chain’s headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois.

The event, the latest in a series of demonstrations by workers demanding $15-an-hour pay and the right to form a union, began at 1 p.m. local time yesterday, on the eve of McDonald’s Corp.’s shareholder meeting.

About 2,000 protesters, including about 325 McDonald’s workers in restaurant uniforms, stormed though the company’s campus entrance at Jorie Boulevard and Kroc Drive in Oak Brook, according to the organizers, holding signs that said, “We Are Worth More” and “My Union My Voice.” The Oak Brook Police Department estimated the number was 1,000 to 1,500.

Anticipating the protest, McDonald’s shut down its headquarters and advised employees to work from home. Showing the kind of brainpower that entitles them to $15 an hour, the protesters moved on to the nearby McDonald’s campus that houses Hamburger University and a Hyatt Lodge.

The Bloomberg article reports that the protesters were brought in by 32 buses and “joined by Service Employees International Union President Mary Kay Henry and William Barber, an official from the NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization.” What is going on here? Bloomberg News mentions the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago.

The WOCC site states that it is “a union of Chicago retail and food workers who have come together to fight for respect and a livable wage of $15.00 an hour. We represent over 100 different employers…” WOCC’s supporters “include an ever-expanding coalition of community, labor and faith-based groups” in which SEIU locals are heavily represented.

Looking around a little bit online, one can infer that WOCC is a front for the SEIU, that the Fight for $15 campaign is just another union operation and that it raises a few issues (as even In These Times found in a 2013 article).

It’s been a while since I studied labor law, but I’m pretty sure fast food workers have the right to organize and join the SEIU if they want to. Is the problem that is manifested in the Oak Brook “protest” that they would prefer not to? That they aren’t buying the line served up by their would-be caretakers? Bloomberg News could perform a service by looking an inch under the story it reports.