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Protests for $15 fast food minimum wage fizzle

Protests for $15 fast food minimum wage fizzle

Not exactly a mass national uprising.

On Thursday, fast food and home healthcare workers across the country walked away from their jobs and joined the “Fight for $15,” an SEIU-backed movement demanding a $15 minimum wage and unabridged union rights for fast food workers.

In the past, organizers and participants have largely avoided trouble with law enforcement. This time, however, protesters came armed with a mandate from on high to engage in civil disobedience to the point of arrest.

In Detroit, a crowd of about 200 protesters locked arms across the street fronting a local McDonald’s, causing a traffic backup and a shortage of officers available for school patrol:

“The protesters who were sitting on Mack Avenue and refusing to move had a bit of a negotiating session between the police department and the organizers — that didn’t go anywhere,” Szumanski said. “So, police have now swooped in and what they have done is arrested at least 20, maybe 30 people. They’re leading them away in handcuffs to the back of the squad cars.”

Detroit Assistance Police Chief Steve Dolunt said there was no problem with what was otherwise a peaceful demonstration, “however, you can’t block the roadway. There are people who do have jobs that have to get to work, kids that have to get to school.”
Dolunt said the situation absolutely left police in a lurch.

“Because of this, we had to pull officers away from school patrol to do this and it exacerbated the situation,” he said.

In Detroit, police were forced to put 30 people total in handcuffs. 24 of those people were ticketed for disorderly conduct and released, but 6 remained in custody due to outstanding warrants. In New York, however, 24 people had been arrested for disorderly conduct and blocking traffic before rush hour had even come to a close.

Earlier this month, the NLRB handed union organizers a promising victory when the Board held that McDonald’s corporation is a “joint employer” of workers at its almost 3000 franchises. If this ruling is upheld in court (and restauranteurs do plan on fighting the ruling “in the appropriate forum,”) union organizers will be able to conduct a mass unionization of all McDonald’s employees without having to go franchise to franchise.

These protests, which started in November of 2012, haven’t caused companies to raise their wages, but they have gotten union organizers an inordinate amount of attention—including that of President Obama:

President Barack Obama has taken notice too. He mentioned the campaign at a Labor Day appearance in Milwaukee. “If I were busting my butt in the service industry and wanted an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work, I’d join a union,” Obama said, as he pushed Congress to raise the minimum wage.

The National Restaurant Association said in a statement that the protests are an attempt by unions to “boost their dwindling membership.” The industry lobbying group said it hopes organizers will be respectful to customers and workers during the protests. McDonald’s, the world’s largest burger chain, said in a statement that there were no service disruptions at its restaurants on Thursday.

Barack Obama isn’t the only lawmaker getting involved. Democratic U.S. Congresswoman Gwen Moore was arrested after blocking traffic outside of a Milwaukee McDonald’s.

NBC News has video of one arrest that took place outside of the Times Square McDonald’s:


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About 10 people were arrested for disrupting traffic while protesting not too far from where I live. That was the only action I heard of around here. Pretty much a non-event.

    Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to Czar Kasim. | September 5, 2014 at 2:05 pm


    $57 Dollars an Hour
    wasn’t enough Pay
    for those Bought Protesters????

    Obama cough up more dough next time!!!

    Snark Snark (for the humor impaired)

The photo shows a white cop arresting a black dude …. Rev’run Al is on the way!

This time, however, protesters came armed with a mandate from on high to engage in civil disobedience to the point of arrest.

So, how many of the “on high” got arrested?

if they keep the charges for everyone except the sitting congresswoman I would love to see the remaining offenders sue.

I wonder how many of these “strikers” were really fast food workers? It sounds like political theatre, produced by the SEIU, not a real strike.

As described, it would appear that this was actually one of Detroit’s BETTER days!

    Seth in reply to MTED. | September 5, 2014 at 11:20 am

    LOL. So, there is a 1 in 5 chance your food is prepared by someone with an outstanding warrant if you go to a drive-through in Detroit.

“If I were busting my butt in the service industry and wanted an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work, I’d join a union,”

Busting my butt? Working at McDonalds is not a dream job of course, but “busting my butt” doesn’t describe it at all. Now, if Obama busted HIS butt once in awhile, maybe he wouldn’t be regarded as the worst president this country had ever had.

    TrooperJohnSmith in reply to McAllister. | September 5, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    This always cracks me up. McDonald’s isn’t exactly “busting your butt”. If it is, butts are a lot less well-made than they used to be. I suspect it’s society’s paradigm that has shifted, rather than the actual job.

    “Busting your butt” happens in digging ditches, welding a pipeline, oil field roughnecking, coal mining, plumbing, oil field roustabout, doing air-conditioning work in 110° attics, working underground in utility tunnels, longshoreman doing “casual work,” maintaining high tension power lines from a helicopter, fighting forest fires with shovels, working all night to prepare a legal brief and staying awake in court the next day… You get the idea. That’s why those jobs pay more. They are hard, dangerous and require a certain amount of physical stamina and/or skill.

    No, McDonald’s ain’t “busting your butt”. They just think it is, because they ain’t ever done a hard day’s work before. That’s why minimum wage jobs are called, McJobs.

      Just to clarify – 110 degree attics are only found along the northern tier. Down in Phoenix, it’s more like 145 degree attics.

      For people who are used to doing what they want, when they want, with little to no accountability, showing up to a job on time and being expected to follow workplace rules IS hard work.

        Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to Sanddog. | September 5, 2014 at 2:11 pm

        “Cause we’re ‘SPECIAL’ and ‘ENTITLED.'”

        “We even got to vote for Obama dozens of times in the past. That’s how special we are.”

        Snark attack!

TrooperJohnSmith | September 5, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Meanwhile, Really Smart People® continue working quietly on a robotic device that makes hamburgers without the usually un(der)educated, usually self-medicated, human being that can’t get a better job because he/she can’t pass a drug or written test.

Coming Soon: “Would you like fries with that? Say or press one for yes or two for no. ¿Quierés papas fritas con su hamburgesa? Dicé uno…”

buckeyeminuteman | September 5, 2014 at 12:30 pm

These employees who walked out aren’t unionized yet. Why don’t the employers just fire them on the spot for exceeding their break time-limit? If I just stood up from my desk and walked outside to protest my meager wages, my boss would fire me on the spot. These people need to remember that the minimum wage is actually $0…

    These are what are called “protected concerted activities,” and even for union free employers enjoy government protection. We have no way of knowing how many, if any, of these protesters were protesting when they should have been working or even if they are bona fide employees. Unions may have a very hard time organizing most fast food workers. How many of them care about “seniority” or plan to spend years working in fast food? If they did organize and strike, how long would it take to replace them? A few hours?

In New York City, there was another worker protest. A McDonald’s worker named Christopher Espinosa, stated, “I’m out here trying to have a better salary to pay for college,” and, added, “These companies are making a lot of money — they can afford it.”

And, there, contained in the last part of Mr. Espinosa’s statement, you have in a nutshell, distilled and refined, the essence of the Left’s fiscal illiteracy and sense of entitlement. No understanding of economics, finance, or, the nature of operating a small business, or, a corporation. No, Mr. Espinosa has urgent needs, is a good citizen who is attending college, and, we all know that McDonald’s is a multinational behemoth of a corporation with deep pockets, so, of course, it should fork over more money to pay Mr. Espinosa as he demands! Mr. Espinosa should not have to prove that his talents are worthy of greater compensation; he should be compensated, because Ronald McDonald is a miserly old clown sitting on bags of money!

These neo-communist idiots who are agitating for government intervention to grant them a wage which the free market does not and would not support of its own accord, appear unwilling to go back to school, to acquire professional certifications or, to switch careers, in order to increase their wages. In short, they can’t reconcile themselves to a merit-based, free market wage system in which one’s earnings are tied to one’s personal initiative/ambition, one’s exertions, one’s risk-taking and one’s talents.

No one is forced to work a job which he or she believes underpays them or undervalues their talents. These idiots should quit their jobs and find another job, in another industry, if they desire to earn more money. But, no; they’re not willing to do that. They basically want a government hand-out, in the form of an artificial wage increase unsupported by their talents and their worth as employees.

If these idiots are unsatisfied with their salary, then, they should change jobs or careers. Acquire new professional skills, education, or, work to acquire professional experience which will make them more valuable to employers. No one is forced to work a job that they don’t like. But, the way to earn more money is to enhance one’s value as an employee, not to protest and to agitate for the government to artificially raise one’s wage to a level that the free market would not ordinarily support. There is a basic reason why a heart transplant surgeon earns high compensation, while a fast-food restaurant fry chef does not. Let’s see if these fools can figure out the reason why.

The concepts of personal responsibility, initiative, risk-taking and self-betterment are utterly alien to these imbeciles. They expect the “benevolent” hand of Big Government to come rescue them from their own personal choices and their lack of initiative. Then again, they are all Mugabe-bama supporters, so, we shouldn’t be surprised.

    platypus in reply to guyjones. | September 5, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    You should give serious consideration to giving seminars on economis 101. There’s an obvious need for such info.

    alaskabob in reply to guyjones. | September 5, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    “Anyone” can be a doctor if they (in Leftist terminology) “win life’s lottery”. (I was actually told this!) Forget 15+ years of additional education (passing tests) and training (not flipping burgers) to get to be that transplant surgeon. That success requires delayed gratification and a marathon pace not promoted in today’s culture of a quick sprint to the Nike store for the latest Air Jordons using other persons’ money (labor). Tortoise vs. Hare… except it is uncool to be the tortoise in today’s culture. By the way, where is John Galt these days?

    Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to guyjones. | September 5, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    RE: “No understanding of economics…”

    An aside: Did you know that most economics degrees though PhD. require no accounting courses?

    Geesh! No wonder it is so “dismal” – in general as a profession – about real world matters.

    Remember many of the leftists majored in Eek-O-Nomics.

Escaped from RI | September 5, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Thanks to the robust Obama economy it’s taken me a little longer to find a job than I expected when I retired from the Army. So I’ve been substitute teaching. It pays $80 a day, or about $12.75 an hour. It requires at least a Bachelors Degree, and a clean criminal history. I believe neither of those is a requirement at McDonalds. Just a comparison.

What are the chances of a successful national organizing drive at major fast food chains, assuming that the latest NLRB effort to change 75 years of law on joint employers survives? Not very good. Fast food workers turn over quickly and have little interest in paying union dues or initiation fees at a place they mostly leave quickly. And, whatever the demonstrations in big “blue” cities such as NY and Chicago, in a national union election, workers get to vote in South Carolina and Texas too. Workers outside of blue states might not want to join a union that is essentially a liberal group and an arm of the Democrat Party. Finally, assume the union is successful in getting in, what bargaining power would they have if current workers could be so easily be lawfully replaced if they went on strike? These are not highly skilled positions.

The franchising companies are not really “joint employers” either. They have carefully followed the law and isolated themselves from supervising, day to day, employees at franchise locations that aren’t corporate owned or dictating terms of employment. The owners of the stores each set terms and conditions of employment for their employees, these vary, and are independent of the large chains. The NLRB is just overreaching on these cases to help unions.

Swear I’m gonna get up on a water tower with my squirrel gun if I hear one more time, “these companies make a lot of money, they can afford to pay me more!”

Well, hell yes they can, directly out of profits. That they or anyone else on your target list can “afford it” does not mean you have some right to it.

If you work 160 hrs a month at $8/hr, that’s $1,280 a month. You could afford to give your garbageman $5 every month, so that means he has a right to it, right? Is that the criteria? If others decide you can afford it, that alone establishes their right to it?

The SEIU just can’t find good workers anymore to man their picket-lines. Another job that Americans won’t do.

They advertised protests in 150 cities with civil disobedience in “all of them.”

Another big union fizzle.

All unions are good at is beating up people and stealing.

The NLRB will be overturned in court because their ruling has no basis in fact or law. NONE. It’s just like what they tried to do to Boeing.

    Ragspierre in reply to Estragon. | September 5, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    “All unions are good at is beating up people and stealing.”

    Sorry. I have to call BS on that.

    If kept to the rule of law, unions CAN be quite good, and are no more malevolent than any other association.

    One of the better things that unions CAN do that is essentially a GOOD is education. Members CAN benefit by a good training in a complex trade. They can also benefit by the promulgation of safe work rules, which also benefit employers.

    A union constrained by generally applicable law CANNOT “steal”. Employers have to have the gumption that many DID NOT exhibit in the past. See makers, auto.

      canoworms27 in reply to Ragspierre. | September 5, 2014 at 5:23 pm

      This begs the question…If one is protesting for a union, and all Mc.D’s are franchised, does that mean the union has to address each and every franchise to unionize?

        Ragspierre in reply to canoworms27. | September 5, 2014 at 6:17 pm

        Well, coupla thangs…

        One is that NOT all McD’s are franchise operations, if I understand correctly.

        Two is I don’t see how you impose a union on franchisees who have an existing contract.

        It COULD work on new franchisees as part of the conditions imposed by the franchisor.

        But I also see how that could be very complex (i.e., not possible), especially in a right-to-work state.

      nordic_prince in reply to Ragspierre. | September 5, 2014 at 6:20 pm

      How about compulsory union dues from non-members? Little difference between the union sticking its hand in my pocket, and a robber or pickpocket doing the same thing – at least in spirit, methinks ~

        Ragspierre in reply to nordic_prince. | September 5, 2014 at 7:30 pm

        That’s sort of situational.

        If I hire into a closed shop and don’t elect to join the union, they still represent me, right?

        On the other hand, if union membership is a condition of ANY employment in a given field, like being a teacher, HELL NO.

        Kind of the difference between a market decision and facing a monopoly.

          nordic_prince in reply to Ragspierre. | September 5, 2014 at 9:46 pm

          Well the “representation” is neither sought nor desired. Whether I want it or not, I’m still paying for “representation.”

          Kinda like “It hath been decreed that thou shalt have health insurance, therefore thou shalt buy it, regardless…”

      Phillep Harding in reply to Ragspierre. | September 6, 2014 at 11:45 am

      While the possibility is there for all those good things, they do not put money in the pockets of the union bosses. What does put money in the union boss pocket is corruption, selling out members, taking protection money, etc.

      As currently run, unions are criminal organizations on a par with the Mafia of old. Complete with broken knee caps, slashed tires, and murders.

I have no problem with their peaceful protest and to the extent that it is peaceful. If they want to strike, that is their right. I just don’t think low paid workers can afford to do that though so I don’t think it will succeed in doing anything but hastening automation.

24 of those people were ticketed for disorderly conduct and released, but 6 remained in custody due to outstanding warrants…

Ok, protest groups. When 25% of your protesters have outstanding arrest warrants, you’ve got one heck of a problem. And that’s just the outstanding ones. I wonder out of that 24, how many have long police records.

(Yeah, I know the answer is around 24. It’s a rhetorical question.)