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McDonald’s Workers Proud to be Union

Press Release: SuperSizeMyPay.Com/Unite Union
Friday, 3 March 2006, 11pm

McDonald’s Workers Proud to be Union

100 workers and their supporters held a protest strike against McDonald’s illegal practices and in support of the SuperSizeMyPay.com demands, despite worker’s claims of bullying.

McDonald’s workers from across Auckland joined the Queen St picket including Royal Oak, Manukau, Glenfield and Wairau Rd. They were joined by 35 fast food call centre workers and Starbucks workers, to say they were proud to be in their union.

Although McDonald’s is claiming that it does not bully staff, Sherilyn Webb, 16, was one of many keen union members who were intimidated by management while preparing for today’s strike.

“My entire store was told by the manager that it was against the law to strike, which scared other union members who had wanted to go on strike into staying at work. They were too afraid of what might happen if they went on strike,” she said.

Ms Webb’s said that her union organiser, Ingrid Beckers, was sworn and yelled at by the manager and told that she was telling the workers lies by saying they could strike.

“I decided to strike because I felt someone had to stand up to the intimidation and show other workers that it was possible to walk out and still keep your job. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared, but I know what my rights are and I felt I had to defend all union member’s rights.”

“The Manager was intimidating us all by telling us that it was against the law to leave or go on strike without giving the store 24 hours notice – (which we don’t have to do). She said that if we left she would take disciplinary action and serve us with written warnings. Before we clocked in, the manager had told us that the union was crap and a waste of money. She claimed the union was obviously not helping because non-union staff will get a pay rise before the union members,” she said.

SuperSizeMyPay.Com campaign co-ordinator, Simon Oosterman said that the company was intending on implementing the new legal minimum wage 3 weeks early, but only to non-union members.

“McDonald’s is willing to spend ¼ million dollars to break a small community union that is trying to get a better deal for minimum wage workers. Whatever the company’s claims, the reality is that they are paying people not to be in the union,” he said.

McDonald’s Unite union members are taking the company to the Employment Relations Authority for “unlawful failure to bargain” and “discrimination on grounds of union membership”.

ENDS

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