Bassett’s employee Suyapa Moreno told The Nation in Spanish that three of her outlet’s four staff went on strike Tuesday, and that when they showed up to start their shift on Wednesday, “the owner told my co-worker she was fired. So I said, ‘If you’re going to fire her, I’m not coming back to work.’” She said her manager told them that “she didn’t want to see us again.” Moreno said she believes her co-worker was targeted because management saw her as the ringleader who convinced Moreno and a third Bassett’s worker to strike.Tuesday's strike wasn't the only low-wage worker activism of the week. Workers also showed up at shareholder meetings of top fast food chains. At the Wendy's shareholder meeting, Fast Food Forward workers chanted "$15 and a union" while:
Moreno said the workers then waited at the food court until other workers, organizers and community supporters gathered to protest the terminations. According to the Good Jobs Nation campaign, about a hundred total supporters converged in the food court to protest ten total terminations by four outlets. Once there was a big enough group, said Moreno, “We went back to talk to the owner, and she accepted us back.” The Good Jobs Nation campaign told The Nation that managers or owners from Subway, Quick Pita and Kabuki Sushi also agreed to reverse the terminations once confronted by crowds of supporters.
Down the block, another demonstration against Wendy's was convened by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, an advocacy group calling for better wages for farmworkers through its Fair Food campaign. The Immokalee Workers have had success in persuading some fast-food giants to sign on to the campaign. Taco Bell, McDonald's, Burger King, Subway, and Chipotle have all pledged to pay a penny more per pound of tomatoes to help support farmworkers wages. Wendy's, to date, hasn't.Pathetic that Wendy's isn't keeping up with Taco Bell, but exciting to see so much activism targeting low-wage employers.
Come below the fold for more of the week's labor news.
A fair day's wage
- One Big Union: Why community engagement is needed for labor victories in the South.
- The Obama administration is considering new regulations to make childcare safer.
- Is corporate responsibility the right answer for Bangladesh?
- Concessions workers at AT&T Park, home of San Francisco's Giants, haven't had a raise in three years. That's one of the reasons they've voted to strike.
- University of California hospital workers, as promised, went on strike this week.
Keeping the National Labor Relations Board functioning
- President Obama's NLRB nominations passed out of committee on a party line vote and will now move to the full Senate, where they'll likely be filibustered by Republicans who don't want a functioning NLRB.
- Former chair of the NLRB Wilma Liebman writes on the importance of confirming a full NLRB.
- I previously posted a video about what happened to Marcus Hedger when he found himself in NLRB limbo thanks to Republican obstructionism. Dave Jamieson talked to Hedger and tells more of his outrageous story.
- Nicholas Lemann has written one of the best pieces I've seen about Michelle Rhee's brand of education reform:
Rhee simply isn’t interested in reasoning forward from evidence to conclusions: conclusions are where she starts, which means that her book cannot be trusted as an analysis of what is wrong with public schools, when and why it went wrong, and what might improve the situation. The only topics worth discussing for Rhee are abolishing teacher tenure, establishing charter schools, and imposing pay-for-performance regimes based on student test scores. We are asked to understand these measures as the only possible means of addressing a crisis of decline that is existentially threatening the United States as a nation and denying civil rights to poor black people.
Some of the specific causes of Rhee’s early career, such as giving principals the right to accept or reject teachers being transferred into their schools, or not requiring that layoffs be made solely on the basis of seniority, are perfectly reasonable. The mystery of the education-reform movement is why it insists on such a narrow and melodramatic frame for the discussion. You’d never know from most education-reform discourse that anybody before the current movement came along ever cared about the quality of public education. ... You’d never know that unionization and school quality are consistent in most of the country (including Washington’s affluent Ward 3) and the world. You’d never know that the research results on charter schools are decidedly mixed. You’d never know that empowered and generally anti-union parents’ and employers’ organizations have been around for decades.