The sixth major fast-food wage protest in Kansas City is scheduled today, targeting selected restaurants with breakfast- and lunch-time protests and staging a midtown rally.
Organizers said events were expected in about 150 cities around the country. In some of them, for the first time, home health aides will join in the fast-food workers’ campaign for higher wages.
No home health industry activity is planned for today in Kansas City, protest planners said.
Organizers said they expected workers from McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, Jimmy John’s, Subway, Church’s, Popeye’s, Arby’s, Pizza Hut, Dominoes, KFC, Hardy’s and Jason’s Deli to participate.
The International Franchise Association, which represents about 825,000 franchise establishments, issued a statement in advance of the protests, criticizing the Service Employees International Union for backing the workers’ “$15 an hour and a union” quest.
The campaign is “clearly part of an overt effort to undermine franchising,” said Steve Caldeira, the franchise association’s president and chief executive.
In addition to trying to shore up “steadily dwindling membership ranks,” Caldeira said, organized labor is trying to persuade governments that franchised businesses are joint employers, “ignoring the fact that they are individually owned, local small businesses.”
Caldeira’s remarks referenced a recent determination by the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel that McDonald’s was a “joint employer” holding substantial power over employee working conditions, including pay, at McDonald’s restaurants.
That determination undercuts company positions that individual franchise owners and operators set their own wages.
The fast-food wage campaign began in November 2012 in New York and spread to Kansas City in July 2013. Five major protests and worker walkouts have been held locally since then. Today’s local events are to include a rally at 14th and Prospect.