Friday, September 12, 2014

1382 Strikes Without Unions

What does it mean when non-union workers stage a strike?  Plenty.

We’ve all heard about the walkouts at McDonalds here and there, mostly in the larger cities.  Often workers picket on their own time.  Sometimes, they’re fired anyway.  Sometimes, their weekly minimum wage hours are reduced.

What’s the beef?  Treatment.  Yes, they want higher wages. Yes, they want to know which hours they’re going to work and which days. Yes, they want to see the entire staff’s work schedule so they can compare their hours to others’.  But the real issue is treatment.

Of course, it’s not just McDonalds.  It’s other fast food joints, too.  And it’s starting at table service restaurants, too.

Example:  recently, a large number of workers at a Chipotle in a small town walked out. Enough workers so they couldn’t run the restaurant for a while.

The parent company issued a statement saying a few employees quit but the most of the rest are eager to return to work.

The workers say “...a few? They didn’t have enough help to run the place, else why would they close?”

At most of these places, you don’t know when you show up for an eight hour shift whether you’ll work eight or twelve or two hours.  It’s standard practice in the non-fine-dining restaurant to send home workers on slow days … but not to call them in when traffic is heavier than expected.

People management likes will be rewarded:  last to be cut, more hours than the others.

You say that there’s enormous turnover among waiters, hosts, cooks and dishwashers.  That isn’t as true as you think.  Look for those 10 and 15 and even 25 year pins long time employees often wear.

But even if it were true… how does that excuse spin-the-bottle scheduling, erratic hours and just plain nastiness?

The labor movement started with two foundation principles: a living wage and human dignity.  You don’t have to be a Marxist to see that.

Not all bosses are Simon Legree. The guy who ran “Market Basket” supermarkets in the Boston area was canned by a relative with more stock.  But the employees loved him and walked out.  Non union employees.  

Teamsters at the company’s warehouses refused to cross the picket line to deliver merchandise. Shelves were bare.  Customers stayed away in droves.  Wouldn’t have shopped there even if there was anything to buy.

Ultimately, the boss bought out his cousin and things will soon be back to normal.

Non union workers striking.   Over treatment.  And yes, over money.  But mostly over treatment.

Shrapnel:

--Most figures point to a recovering economy. Why don’t people feel that way?  Because most figures lie.

--How is the president going to screw up the just-announced war against ISIS?  Let me count the ways.  No… forget that... I don’t know that many numbers.

--Once again, everyone wants to own 9/11.  Previously unreleased video (who needs it?) And conducting a memorial at a re-creation that never should have been built.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2014

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