- McJobs and Workers -

Tarnishing the Brand's Name, and Scheduling.

Posted by: Flint Jones ( IWW, USA ) on October 22, 1998 at 01:05:58:

In Reply to: Should have been fired posted by Shaun on October 21, 1998 at 01:31:50:

I can only imagine what a heated reply Qx is going to give to you Shaun, however I'll try to be civil. The key word here is try.

I wonder if you actually managed to see any connection between your complaints, those of the striking workers in Virginia, and the management's policies.

First, you claim that McDonald's workers are unwilling to join unions and go on strike over a $5.50 part time job. Examples in Ohio, Virginia, and Canada are showing that there are workers who are willing to take the risk of being fired (as happened with Bryan and Jamal in Macedonia) for trying to make management address their needs, partially by refusing to work, and partially by applying public through a picket.
It some ways its an act of desperation when management refuses to address your concerns. Originally, the Macdeonia workers were willing simply to work out an agreement with management without a union. Management betrayed that agreement, so when Bryan and Jamal began organizing a union with the Teamsters; they were fired on a pretext. Their suit is still pending with the National Labor Relations Board.

McDonald's workers are also joinining unions, as individuals and as whole stores as they did with the Canadian Auto Workers.

The main issues of the Virginia workers are related to the scheduling. Management wished to maintain profits at a set level, even though sales were going down. They cut back on available hours of work, which also led to a reduction of the number of workers at the store at any one time. The understaffing causes work not to get done, pressure is increasing applied upon the few workers who are there to work harder and quicker (I wouldn't be suprised if the caused even more corners to be cut in terms of cleaning, production and service). Such poor quality service begins to cause a further downward pressure on sales as cusomters can go else where. Lower sales squeezes profits, so they cut more hours.

They were demanding atleast 37 hours a week as part of their employment. That doesn't sound like part-time workers to me. Further, they also wanted paid vacation days for full-time workers as is done by on of McDonald's local competitors, Taco Bell. They wanted McD's to come up to standard elsewhere in the industry. Finally, it was scheduling incompetence in which workers were required to come in to work shift and then told to go home (and not given their 3 hours credit for doing so) which was another issue that caused the strike. This is all about scheduling.

What reason could management not have for being weak in their discplining (firing!) of rebellious workers? Well, they were already understaffing, cutting back on hours. Other fast food restraunts in the area were offering better benefits. Could it be that noone else is willing to take the job? If there are no replacement workers, then there can't be any scabs. No scabs, then owners (and the managers who do their bidding) have to realize nothing gets done without workers. Its great when workers are completely expendable as you can continue to lower wages and benefits as long as their are people are willing to settle for less and less, instead of nothing.

Personally, I regard a walk out strike as a bad action for most jobs.
The strikers open themselves up to being fired, and replaced by scabs.
Its much better to http://iww.org/direct_action/s0.html">strike on the job through slow downs, sick-ins, work to rule, good work strike, and monkey wrenching. The benefit for all these is that you don't open yourself up to an easy firing (particularly if its collective action). But a selective strike, say a quick one at an oppurtune time can be a great tool. For instance, retail store workers might make great use of a strike the day after thanksgiving; win a quick demand like a pay increase and recognition of a union. Then they go back to work, and proceed to win their other demands through direct action and collective bargaining.

The service industry, both food and retail, are particularly subject to public scrutiny and pressure. "Tarnishing the Brand Name" through pickets can be much more effective against McDonald's than it can be say against a electrical supply manafacturing plant where the buyers are other corporations and not mass consumers.

People have a right to free speech, but property laws are used to try and silence that speech. This is a problem. I'll champion freedom over property (specifically property owned by some, and worked by others) any day. Most people being dispossesed of property would probably agree.

Ok, enough civility... maybe a bit of satire and overstatement:

"So remember, fellow workers, if you stop working for Shaun at BK, he will fire you all; even if he has to run the whole store all by himself. If you give him any lip in front of customers at the store, they'll pepper spray you and drag you way in cuffs. You keep resisting they'll shoot you. All this because he makes the rules, he makes the schedule. Now stop complaining about your jobs, you bunch of slackers and get back to work... atleast for the short amount of time were willing to employ you. We'd rather have 16 part-time workers than 4 full-time workers, we get to pay them less and jerk them around more.
We'd rather have teens working for us, because they don't really need the money, and aren't struggling to support families; and teens don't have so much of attitude as we get with older workers who actually want respect and dignity. After all, its alot easier to tell those impressionable kids what to do; and treat them as less than equals. We can be little all their attempts to organize as desperate pleas for attention and fame instead of actually listening to them and addressing their concerns. Besides, our store isn't like other stores... its good to work here, its not bad. Yes, I know everything looks the same, and minimum wage is a standard through out, and its generally the same operating costs, but aren't you glad your not working for a meaner manager. After all, if you really don't like the job you can always go work someplace else... maybe at the McDonald's, Taco Bell, Hardee's or some other business that as far as work goes is just like this one; giving up whatever meager wage increases we've given you to shut up, and moving you back to the bottom of the seniority pile. Unions can't help you, we'll see to that; they'll never be able to beat our lawyers. And even if they could, they'll take control of your life, make you loose your job, make you go on strike, make you pay what little is left after your crummy wages after taxes. After all, if you join together with your fellow workers collectively; you might not be willing to make the free choice of following every one of our arbitrary orders." - The Boss.

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