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C. Mosquera

Fast Food Industry in the Crosshairs

New York City and Chicago’s fast-food industry have been the recent targets of a three-year planned attack by the SEIU. They started in New York and then it began shortly thereafter in Chicago. SEIU internal documents from 2009 detail their planned attack, including metro areas with a favorable workforce composition and local political environment as well as 7-10 of the largest fast-food chains, including Burger King, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Domino’s and Yum! brands including Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut.Despite the difficulty of  organizing a work force with traditionally high turnover rates, one advantage of the churn is the ability to collect “initiation fees” every time a new employee is hired, creating an ever-paying slot machine for the union.  This seems to dwarf concerns around working with franchise owners and the difficulty in coming to an agreed upon consensus for wage increases.According to SEIU’s documents, the organizing effort seems well-planned. The union has secured the help of community and civil rights groups, and religious leaders, and has landed 40 full-time organizers on the ground in New York City alone. The plan is to test their strategy in the most likely union-friendly environments first before rolling on to additional metropolitan areas.

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