Recent one-day strikes at McDonald’s and other fast food restaurants around the country grab the public’s attention and generate much more buzz than standard union/management contract disputes.
Showcasing the personal struggle and courage of low-wage workers and the greedy companies which refuse to raise their pay, these “Fast Food Forward” protests sidestep traditional collective bargaining practices. But much of the funding and organizing talent comes directly from established national unions such as SEIU [Service Employees International Union].
Alt-labor campaigns portray a labor movement dedicated to building power among part-time, entry-level service workers and communicate a central message of organizing: That the only way to bring employers around is to stir up trouble.
Could Alt-Labor’s positive spin rub off on some of the labor movement’s other challenges, where public sympathy is in shorter supply? For example: unionized government workers facing upcoming pension battles in many cities and states.