News & Commentary

November 20, 2014

This post is part of an ongoing of series on the fast food organizing movement. You can read all our Fast Food News here.

Bloomberg Law reports that National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Richard Griffin told House Education and the Workforce Committee leaders in a Nov. 4 letter that the agency has no open cases that turn on his theory of joint employment that he proposed in a brief to the five-member NLRB. While Griffin maintained that he believes his amicus brief filed in Browning-Ferris is the best reading of how the NLRB should adjudicate joint employer issues, the agency is continuing to apply the current joint employer test to all outstanding cases.

The Guardian follows up on US fast food workers who have traveled to the UK in order to assist their British counterparts in their own campaign to raise wages. Workers from the United States have advised British workers on the formation of a new campaign, Fast Food Rights, which wants £10 an hour set as a minimum for UK fast-food workers. As in the US, unions represent few UK fast food workers, but the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) will be supporting the campaign. The British campaign plans to warm-up protests and sit-ins, mimicking the US workers slogans and tactics, in December before joining an international day of action. There are now plans to organize a day of coordinated international protest in April 2015 to demand all workers receive a living wage. The protest would include occupying restaurant outlets and blocking roads and according to organizers Change to Win, it would be the largest ever protest against low pay.

According to Politico’s “Morning Shift,” two more cities and one county are joining the states of Arkansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Alaska and the cities of San Francisco and Oakland in raising the minimum wage. Morning Shift reports that Las Cruces, New Mexico is moving to implement a $10.10 minimum that passed in September. The city council in Portland, Maine will follow Las Cruces lead and consider an ordinance that would increase the minimum to $10.68 by 2017 and would tie future increases to the city’s urban consumer price index. Finally, Texas’s Bexar County, which includes San Antonio, is considering a plan to pay county and contract workers a minimum of $13 an hour.

The Illinois State Senate has advanced a plan to increase the state’s minimum wage to $11 per hour by 2017. According to Crain’s, workers would earn $10 per hour beginning July 2015, and then would see an increase to $11 by 2017. By beginning the increase in July, the legislature would only need a bare majority for passage, whereas an immediate increase would require a three-fifths majority. However, there seems to be reluctance in the State House to pass any increase in the minimum wage due to the opposition of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and the Illinois Restaurant Association. In the face of possible inaction at the state level, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is planning a potential vote in the City Council in December to increase the wage to $13 an hour within the City of Chicago. It is possible that, if a state bill is passed, it would preempt any power Chicago has to go higher than the state minimum, which may bring support from interest groups to the lower, $10 or $11 an hour wage. This past election, Illinois voters overwhelmingly approved a non-binding referendum to increase the minimum wage from $8.25 to $10 an hour.

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