While the National Labor Relations Board is currently divided 2-2, the confirmation of another Trump appointee will restore the Republican majority — which is bad news for fast-food-chain workers.
Edward Navales realized a career in large tech firms wasn’t for him, and in 2008 he decided to open his own business. Armed with a University of Texas MBA and guided by a desire to do something meaningful, he decided to start a firm in the health care sector. As he surveyed his options, it seemed like a franchise agreement would be the quickest and surest way to success.
He invested savings, took out a Small Business Administration loan and entered into an agreement with Bright Star Healthcare, a small but fast-growing home health care company. Bright Star promised its franchisees support and flexibility. According to Navales, the reality was something else entirely.
“What I found was inadequate support, unrealistic and predatory minimum sales targets and costly vendor requirements,” Navales said. “I soon learned my fellow franchisees were experiencing the same challenges.” Bright Star, claimed Navales, wasn’t responsive to their requests and complaints,
A recent L.A. Times story profiled a fast-food worker who, according to reporter Don Lee, would lose eligibility for Medicaid if his wages were raised to $15. His wage gains could be “wiped out” by the higher health care costs he’d end up paying. Lee’s portrayal was inaccurate and misleading.
The story centers on 53-year-old Douglas Hunter, a Chicago McDonald’s cook and a leader in the Fight for $15, a national movement of fast-food workers who are pushing for $15 in hourly wages and the right to form a union without employer retaliation.
Hunter is currently enrolled in CountyCare, a Medicaid-managed care plan that pays for his health care, including more than $700 per month in medications and supplies he needs to manage his diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure. Contrary to Lee’s assertion, Hunter would still qualify for Medicaid based on his income if his wage were raised to $15.
As President Obama’s efforts to nudge the U.S. minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour continue to be rebuffed by a Republican Congress, a national coalition of low-wage fast-food and retail workers will be taking their demands for a doubling of the current wage to the streets on Wednesday, in what they promise will be “the largest low-wage worker strike in history.”
Kendall Fells, the organizing director for the Fight for $15 campaign, said the April 15, 200-city walkout will also include actions on about 170 college campuses around the country and abroad.
Wednesday’s one-day strike is part of a three-year campaign spearheaded by the Service Employees International Union and the AFL-CIO to build public support for raising the pay for fast-food and other low-wage workers, a boost that would lift about 12 million Americans above the federal poverty line of $23,850 a year for a family of four.
In March, seven class action lawsuits filed in California, Michigan and New York suggested that for the country’s 30 million-strong low-wage workforce, getting one’s paycheck ripped off by some of the largest and wealthiest employers in America is too often business as usual.
Contending that the McDonald’s restaurant chain had been “systematically stealing” from its workers, the suits detailed company-wide practices of managers regularly ordering employees to work off the clock, shaving hours from their time cards and not paying overtime. Three of the California suits also claimed that McDonald’s and its franchise owners illegally altered pay records and denied employees meal periods and rest breaks. Other plaintiffs alleged McDonald’s used a sophisticated computer program that monitored real-time sales volume: When sales dropped below a certain level during any given hour, attorneys said, some managers would routinely order workers from the incoming shift to not punch in for an hour or two until there were more customers.