Sfida salariale alle catene di fast-Food – Guida la protesa una campagna sostenuta dai sindacati – Scioperi dei dipendenti contro

Usa, lotte operaie

Wsj     130829
 
Sfida salariale alle catene di fast-Food – Guida la protesa una campagna sostenuta dai sindacati – Scioperi dei dipendenti contro McDonald ed altri
    JULIE JARGON    e    KRIS MAHER
+ vari

–       Secondo gli organizzatori hanno partecipato alla protesta in 60 città americane 1000 ristoranti fast food, e altri negozi al dettaglio, come reparti di grandi magazzini; alcuni ristoranti hanno dovuto chiudere.

–       Ci sono stati precedenti scioperi in oltre una dozzina di città da New York a Seattle; quella in corso, è la maggiore mai vista, in un settore che finora non aveva visto lotte di rilievo.

–       La dimensione delle lotte in corso – iniziate con un giorno di sciopero lo scorso novembre a NY (200 lavoratori) e poi allargatasi nel Mid West e sulla West Coast, uno sciopero di 4 giorni in 7 città a luglio – è insolita,  è difficile organizzare questo settore dove il ricambio dei dipendenti è alto, attorno al 75% l’anno (NTY).

–       Le proteste sono chiamate a New York Fast Food Forward e a Chicago Fight for 15.

–       I lavoratori rivendicano la libertà di iscriversi (come gruppo) ad un sindacato senza subire intimidazioni dai loro capi, chiedono di portare il salario medio a $15/ora, miglioramento delle condizioni di lavoro (caldo eccessivo in locali di lavoro senza condizionatori, 40° e oltre).

–       Da un recente studio del National Employment Law Project: solo il 2,2% dei dipendenti nei fast food sono manager, professionisti o tecnici; il salario medio per un lavoratore comune è di $8,94/h, quello mediano è di $9,05/h, e può scendere fino al livello del salario minimo nazionale di $7,25/h.

–       Secondo un dirigente dell’Associazione nazionale ristoratori riceve il salari minimo solo una piccola percentuale dei dipendenti, la maggior parte di essi è inferiore ai 25 anni.

–          (Le Monde 29.08.2013) La maggior parte delle catene di fast food è organizzata in reti di franchising (subappalto), la cui struttura legale permette di far convivere un gruppo che pesa per $95MD a Wall Street con condizioni di lavoro e retribuzione come quelle delle micro-imprese della ristorazione.

–          Secondo un’inchiesta di NBC News, mentre dieci anni fa gli adolescenti rappresentavano il 25% della manodopera, e usavano il salario ricevuto per gli studi o le vacanze, oggi essi sono solo il 16%.

–       Le proteste sono iniziate dopo che il sindacato dei dipendenti dei servizi – Service Employees International Union[e] (SEIU) – ha aiutato alla creazione di un nuovo sindacato in almeno sei città (tra cui NY, Chicago, St. Louis), dove venivano organizzati scioperi nei fast food dal sindacato e da gruppi di attivisti.

–       Il nuovo sindacato di NY, creato lo scorso novembre, si chiama Fast Food Workers Committee (FFWC), non è affiliato ad alcun sindacato esistente; suo presidente è Kendall Fells, che (WSJ) nel 2012 ha guadagnato $111 000 come coordinatore di SEIU.

–       Il sindacato FFWC di NY si trova allo stesso indirizzo di Brooklyn del New York Communities for Change, un’associazione no-profit che ha organizzato scioperi e che l’anno scorso ha ricevuto da SEIU $2,5 mn.

–       SEIU fornisce alla lotta sostegno tecnico e organizzatori; funzionari di SEIU e volontari fungono da impiegati.

–       Fells ha dichiarato che i funzionari attuali sono solo “segnaposto”, mentre sono i lavoratori che costruiscono la loro organizzazione e decidono come strutturarla.

–       La presidente del sindacato di Washington DC, Mary Kay Henry: diversamente da precedenti tentativi ora ci si chiede come fare a cambiare la situazione in tutti i settori economici a basso salario. (Salon, 14.08.2013) Le diseguaglianze economiche sono il primo problema da risolvere; l’economia sta creando posti di lavoro che però non consentono ai lavoratori di mantenere la loro famiglia.

–       Tra i settori a basso salario quello più ampio è (probabilmente) il settore del fast food, e non si ridurrà il livello di povertà di questi settori se non riusciamo a far aumentare i salari di quest’ultimo. (Westin, direttore del New York Communities for Change)

–       A luglio hanno scioperato lavoratori di 80 ristoranti fast food (tra cui McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Burger King e Wendy’s, Popeye’s e Long John Silver’s) di Detroit e Flint (Michigan), unendosi a quelli di New York City, Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee e Kansas City. Lo sciopero nel Michigan è stato incoraggiato da quello di Chicago del 24 aprile, che ha ottenuto vittorie salariali e di condizioni di lavoro.

(NT, 31.07.2013) Gli scioperi dei Fast food hanno il sostegno del movimento Occupy Wall Street, e si differenziano da quelli sindacali tradizionali che si concentrano solitamente in un solo posto di lavoro.

Si tratta di una campagna nazionale, sostenuta con milioni di $ dal sindacato Service Employees International Union, che vuole mobilitare contemporaneamente i lavoratori di numerose città e di centinaia di ristoranti di due decine di catene.

Nessuno degli oltre 200mila ristoranti fast food è sindacalizzato. La maggior parte dei lavoratori urbani che ha partecipato a scioperi di una giornata è nera o ispanica, gruppi demografici spesso favorevoli ai sindacati (NYT). Gli obiettivi che si pongono gli strateghi delle lotte potrebbero essere:

la sindacalizzazione del settore (difficile, per il turn-over);

far aumentare i salari ai gruppi del settore a furia di interruzioni de servizio;

far pressione sulle amministrazioni cittadine per l’introduzione di un salario minimo pe i ristoranti fast food, e sul Congresso per l’aumento del salario minimo federale (al quale i Repubblicani sono fortemente contrari).

Wsj      130829

Fast-Food Chains Face Challenges on Wages – Union[e]-Backed Campaign Leads Protests, Employee Walkouts Against McDonald’s, Others

    By    JULIE JARGON    and    KRIS MAHER

–       A union-backed campaign conducted scattered protests and employee walkouts at fast-food chains in 60 cities in an effort to ramp up pressure for increased wages while organizers are quietly working to create unions to represent fast-food workers.

–       The impact and size of Thursday’s protests was difficult to gauge. Spokesmen for the protests’ organizers estimated that they involved 1,000 fast-food outlets, and some other retailers, such as department stores, and claimed that walkouts shut down some restaurants.

–       McDonald’s Corp. and Wendy’s Co. said the protests had minimal effects on operations and that they were unaware of any shutdowns. At midday Thursday in downtown Chicago, one of the cities targeted, several outlets of both chains seemed undisturbed. People protested outside one Chicago McDonald’s for about 45 minutes; a restaurant employee reached by phone, who didn’t want to be identified, said none of the protesters were employed there.

Burger King Worldwide didn’t respond to requests for comment.

–       Fast-food workers are asking for a wage increase to $15 an hour. Here, protesters outside a Burger King in Los Angeles on Thursday.

–       Workers marching outside fast-food restaurants have called for the chains to increase wages to $15 an hour—wages now can be as low as the national minimum of $7.25 an hour—and to allow a "fair process" to join a union.

The restaurant companies say they pay fair and competitive wages and that increases of that size would force owners to cut staff.

–       Previous strikes have targeted fast-food chains in more than a dozen cities from New York to Seattle. The chains have said those strikes also didn’t cause significant disruptions. But the momentum of demonstrations is unusual in an industry where organizing has been difficult because of high employee turnover.

–       The protests come as the Service Employees International Union[e] in recent months has helped establish a new union[e] in at least six cities where the union[e] and community advocacy groups have been organizing fast-food strikes, according to organizers and documents filed in recent months with the Labor Department. The cities include New York, Chicago and St. Louis. SEIU officials and members of nonunion community groups are listed as officers of those unions.

–       "Fast-food workers need a union[e] and we’re proud to help them get it started," said Kendall Fells, listed as president of a New York-based union[e] called the Fast Food Workers Committee on documents filed with the Labor Department in February.

–       Mr. Fells, who earned $111,000 as a city coordinator for SEIU last year according to its latest financial disclosure report with the Labor Department, said the newly created union[e] isn’t affiliated with any existing union. "The existing officers are placeholders while the workers grow their organization and decide how to structure it," he said.

Terrance Kellon, 40 years old, who earns $7.50 an hour working for a Little Caesars restaurant in Raleigh, N.C., said he would join a union. "We’re trying to get out and get everyone into the union[e] so we can get this raise," he said.

–       Still, some labor experts said that efforts to unionize fast-food workers broadly are unlikely to succeed.

–       "I don’t see wide-scale organizing for bargaining," said Gary Chaison, a professor of industrial relations at Clark University, in Worcester, Mass. He said a limited number of unions could attract workers and be used to help push city living-wage ordinances and other measures. He described the strikes as "street theater" designed in part to show that the SEIU "can serve as the voice of empowering workers politically."

–       The newly created unions shed light on the interconnections between the SEIU and community advocacy groups based in a variety of cities. The SEIU has said it is offering "technical" support to the campaign and lending organizers to efforts to establish ties with fast-food workers. In the newly formed unions, SEIU officials are serving as officers, along with members of community nonprofits.

–       Jonathan Westin, who is listed as vice president of the Fast Food Workers Committee, said fast-food workers in New York announced the creation of the organization last November when they first went on a one-day strike. The union[e] is located at the same address in Brooklyn, N.Y., where Mr. Westin heads New York Communities for Change, a nonprofit advocacy group that has been leading strikes and that received $2.5 million from SEIU last year.

The new union[e] "is an independent organization of workers fighting to raise their pay," Mr. Westin said. "It helps to protect them and gives them legal recourse to fight back against employers who retaliate."

Companies have played down the protests. "What we’ve heard is that some of the people on these walk outs are not even restaurant employees," said Angelo Amador, vice president of labor and workforce policy for the National Restaurant Association, an industry trade group.

–       Wendy’s said it isn’t changing anything. "We’re proud that Wendy’s provides a place where thousands of people with different backgrounds and education levels can enter the workforce, gain life skills and advance through their own initiative and abilities," a spokesman said.

McDonald’s said that "employees who participate in these activities and return to work are welcomed back and scheduled to work their regular shifts as usual."

Write to Julie Jargon at julie.jargon@wsj.com and Kris Maher at kris.maher@wsj.com

A version of this article appeared August 30, 2013, on page B3 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Fast-Food Chains Face Protests.

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Salon   130829

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 01:44 PM E

 
Largest fast food strike ever today: 58 cities will be affected

Work stoppage will hit about a thousand shops and several cities in the south today, as workers seek fair wages

By Josh Eidelson

Fast food workers today plan to mount one-day walkouts against nearly a thousand stores in over fifty cities — the largest-ever mobilization against their growing, low-wage, non-union industry, which until last fall had never faced a substantial U.S. strike. The work stoppage comes four weeks after a four-day, seven-city strike wave in which organizers say thousands walked off the job.

Today, the strikes – which started with a single-city November work stoppage in New York — are expected to hit several cities. In each city – from Los Angeles to Peoria – workers are demanding a raise to $15 an hour, and the chance to form a union[e] without intimidation by their boss.

“I’m not a kid,” Raleigh, North Carolina, Little Caesar’s worker Julio Wilson told Salon. Rather, he said, “I am a single father, I have a daughter with special needs that needs attending to on a daily basis.” He said many of his co-workers and their families “need to be compensated to be able to live.”

Wilson, 34, first learned about the campaign when he saw a striking New York workers on TV. “They kind of sparked my interest,” he said, and led him to search online for a local organization tied to the cause. Over the past eight years, he’s worked at Burger King, Subway, Arby’s and McDonald’s. “I’ve made my way through the fast food circuit,” said Wilson, “and they’re all the same.”

Asked about the coming strike, McDonald’s e-mailed, “The story promoted by the individuals organizing these events does not provide an accurate picture of what it means to work at McDonald’s.” The company said it “aims to offer competitive pay and benefits to our employees” and that “Our history is full of examples of individuals who worked their first job with McDonald’s and went on to successful careers both within and outside of McDonald’s.” A recent study by the pro-labor National Employment Law Project found that “only 2.2 percent of jobs in the fast food industry are managerial, professional, or technical occupations,” and that the average pay for a front-line fast food worker is $8.94 per hour.

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Nt       130831

The New York Times

July 31, 2013

A Day’s Strike Seeks to Raise Fast-Food Pay

By STEVEN GREENHOUSE

From New York to several Midwestern cities, thousands of fast-food workers have been holding one-day strikes during peak mealtimes, quickly drawing national attention to their demands for much higher wages.

What began in Manhattan eight months ago first spread to Chicago and Washington and this week has hit St. Louis, Kansas City, Detroit and Flint, Mich. On Wednesday alone, workers picketed McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Popeye’s and Long John Silver’s restaurants in those cities with an ambitious agenda: pay of $15 an hour, twice what many now earn.

–       These strikes, which are planned for Milwaukee on Thursday, carry the flavor of Occupy Wall Street protests and are far different from traditional unionization efforts that generally focus on a single workplace. The national campaign, underwritten with millions of dollars from the Service Employees International Union, aims to mobilize workers — all at once — in numerous cities at hundreds of restaurants from two dozen chains.

–       None of the nation’s 200,000-plus fast-food restaurants are unionized.

–       The strategists know they want to achieve a $15 wage, but they seem to be ad-libbing on ways to get there. Perhaps they will seek to unionize workers at dozens of restaurants, although some labor leaders scoff at that idea because the turnover rate among fast-food employees is about 75 percent a year. Or the strategists and strikers might press city councils to enact a special “living wage” for fast-food restaurants. Or perhaps by continually disrupting the fast-food marketplace from counter to counter across the country, they can get McDonald’s, KFC and others to raise wages to end the ruckus. The protests’ organizers acknowledge that yet another goal is to push Congress to raise the federal minimum wage and pressure state legislatures to raise the state minimums.

“These companies aren’t magically going to make our lives better,” said Terrance Wise, who earns $9.30 an hour after working for eight years at a Burger King in Kansas City, plus $7.40 an hour at his second job at Pizza Hut. “We can sit back and stay silent and continue to live in poverty or, on the other hand, we can step out and say something and let it be known that we need help.”

–       In explaining why her union[e] is pouring dozens of organizers and significant sums into the effort, Mary Kay Henry, the S.E.I.U. president, said, “Our union’s members think that economic inequality is the No. 1 problem our nation needs to solve. We think it’s important to back low-wage workers who are willing to stand up and have the courage to strike to make the case that the economy is creating jobs that people can’t support their families on.”

The protests in Detroit on Wednesday had a particularly poignant backdrop, given that the city has declared bankruptcy. Dozens of workers, joined by members of various unions and community groups, picketed in front of McDonald’s and Taco Bell, shouting chants like, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, $7.40 has got to go” — the amount per hour many of them are paid.

–       “Fifteen dollars an hour would be great – we’d be able to pay our living costs,” said Christopher Drumgold, 32, a father of two who earns $7.40 an hour after a year working at a McDonald’s on Seven Mile Road in Detroit. “On what I’m earning right now you have to choose between paying your rent and eating the next day.”

–       Restaurant industry officials say the strikers’ demand for $15 an hour is ludicrous because it amounts to more than twice the federal minimum wage. (The median pay for fast-food workers nationwide is $9.05 an hour.) Industry officials say a $15 wage might drive many restaurants out of business and cause restaurant owners to hire fewer workers and replace some with automation — perhaps by using more computerized gadgets where customers punch in the orders themselves.

Scott DeFife, executive vice president of the National Restaurant Association, said the one-day walkouts were not really strikes, but rather public-relations-minded protests that have caused very few restaurants to close.

–       “It is an effort to demonize the entire industry in order to make some organizing and political points,” he said, adding that only a small percentage of restaurant jobs pay the minimum wage. He said most of those positions were held by workers younger than 25.

–       Organizers of the protests — called Fast Food Forward in New York and Fight for 15 in Chicago — say that it seems to be catching fire. Some fast-food workers in St. Louis, inspired by the strikes in New York and Chicago, held their own one-day walkout.

“Things are going phenomenally. Workers all over the country are taking action in an industry where there had literally been no action or traction a year ago,” said Jonathan Westin, executive director of New York Communities for Change, which played a crucial role organizing the first fast-food strike in New York last November.

–       Explaining the focus on fast-food workers, Mr. Westin added, “In a lot of low-income neighborhoods, probably the largest employer is the fast-food industry, and we’re not going to reduce the level of poverty in those neighborhoods unless we try to get that industry to provide jobs that pay a living wage.”

Late Wednesday morning, 100 people protested in front of a Taco Bell on Eight Mile Road in Detroit, with organizers saying that 11 of the restaurant’s employees were on strike.

–       One Taco Bell worker, Sharise Stitt, 27, joined the strike, saying the $8.09 she earns after five years there was insufficient to support her family.

–       She was evicted from her Detroit apartment and moved her family to her sister’s house in Taylor, Mich. That means a 45-minute commute each way and a gas bill of $50 every four days. After taxes, she has about $900 a month to feed and clothe her three children. They receive food stamps.

“Sometimes my phone will go out because that isn’t a priority,” she said. “Giving my kids a roof over their heads is.”

She would love a $15 minimum wage. “I wouldn’t have to worry about school supplies or things like that,” she added.

–       Nelson Lichtenstein, a labor historian at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said he doubted the fast-food strikes would result in union[e]ization. While unions might be excited by the current burst of enthusiasm, he said unions had learned to be cautious, adding, “You pour in a lot of resources, saying, ‘Yes it does work,’ and a year later it disintegrates.”

Nonetheless, he said the periodic chaos the one-day walkouts cause could influence the industry to pay more and could nudge lawmakers to raise the minimum wage (which Republicans in Washington strongly oppose).

 

–       Dorian T. Warren, who teaches a course on labor organizing at Columbia University, noted that most of the urban workers taking part in the single-day strikes were black and Hispanic, demographic groups that often lean in favor of unions.

–       “I think a vast majority would vote for unionization,” he said. “Many are earning so little they have nothing to lose.”

“Will they get $15 an hour?” he added. “I don’t know. If they get to $10 or $12, that’d be huge.”

Jaclyn Trop contributed reporting.

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Le Monde       130829
Qui en veut à la recette du Big Mac ?

LE MONDE | 29.08.2013 à 12h38 • Mis à jour le 29.08.2013 à 12h52 | Par Jean-Baptiste Jacquin

Dans l’histoire de l’industrie américaine du fast-food, ce jeudi 29 août sera peut-être un tournant. Un appel à la grève dans les McDonald’s, Wendy’s, KFC et autres Burger King est lancé dans cinquante villes des Etats-Unis. Jamais un mouvement social d’une telle ampleur n’avait affecté cette filière.

La revendication est aussi simple qu’elle semble inatteignable : les grévistes demandent à être payés 15 dollars de l’heure (11,30 euros), soit le double du salaire minimum fédéral. Le salaire moyen dans les fast-foods est de 9 dollars.

Le mouvement de protestation a débuté en novembre 2012 à New York, quand deux cents salariés de McDonald’s ont fait grève et ont défilé. D’autres villes et d’autres chaînes de restauration rapide ont été gagnées par la grogne. Ces grèves sporadiques n’ont, jusqu’ici, pas produit le moindre résultat.

L’organisation de la plupart des chaînes de fast-food en réseaux de franchisés constitue un véritable mur face aux revendications. McDonald’s explique ainsi que les questions d’emploi ou de salaire relèvent des franchisés. De fait, les petites mains du Big Mac sont employées par le patron d’un fast-food, pas par McDonald’s.

RÉMUNÉRATION SUPÉRIEURE

–       Généralement, travailler pour un groupe d’envergure mondiale permet d’avoir une rémunération et des avantages supérieurs à la moyenne. La structure juridique de la franchise permet de faire cohabiter un groupe qui pèse 95 milliards de dollars à Wall Street et des conditions de travail équivalentes à celle des microentreprises de la restauration.

Il est vrai que le système convenait aux légions de jeunes qui ont passé quelques trimestres à vendre des hamburgers pour payer leurs études ou leurs vacances. Mais la crise étant passée par là, de plus en plus de salariés de fast-food sont des chargés de famille.

–       L’équation d’un contrat de vingt heures par semaines à 9 dollars n’est plus la même. Selon une enquête menée par NBC News, les adolescents ne représentent plus que 16 % de la main-d’œuvre dans les fast-foods américains. Ils étaient 25 % il y a dix ans.

Les franchisés, eux, opposent au mouvement leurs contraintes financières. Puisqu’ils n’ont pas la main sur deux éléments- clés de leur compte d’exploitation : les prix de vente au public, et le niveau des royalties qu’ils versent au groupe. Légalement, la revendication des grévistes concerne le franchisé, mais c’est McDonald’s qui détient la solution.

Tout dépendra donc de l’écho que ce mouvement va rencontrer dans l’opinion américaine. Car McDonald’s ne voudra pas abîmer son image auprès de ses clients. Une autre revendication est brandie par les grévistes : obtenir le droit de s’organiser en syndicats au niveau du groupe. Ce n’est pas un hasard si aucun mouvement structuré n’avait émergé jusqu’ici. Si ce curseur devait bouger, la recette de McDonald’s serait bouleversée.

Jean-Baptiste Jacquin
 

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