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McDonald’s Threatens to Sue Low Paid Workers

McDonald’s Threatens to Sue Low Paid Workers

Press Release SuperSizeMyPay.com/Unite Union
February 9

McDonald’s Threatens to Sue Low Paid Workers

Fast food giant McDonald’s has threatened to take legal action against its minimum wage workers if they align themselves with any union action that workers vote to carry out.

The workers have called a meeting at the store at 12:00pm today where they will discuss issues employees have been facing with Unite Union president, Matt McCarten, so as to take their employer to task on its anti-union stance.

Queen St McDonald’s staff join other fast food workers involved in the SuperSizeMyPay.com campaign demanding a minimum wage of $12 an hour, an end to youth rates and secure hours, demands they want heard by upper levels of McDonald’s management.

“Senior managers at McDonald’s have used various tactics against its workers to dissuade them from protecting their interests by organising collectively. In fact McDonald’s refuses to deduct fees from hundreds of its members. You can imagine how young workers and migrants in their first job would feel intimidated,” Unite union President Matt McCarten explained.

“When Unite arranges with McDonald’s to have authorised union meetings with our members we find they roster all union members off in the store for that day. McDonald’s list of tactics against the workers goes on and on.

“But despite these dirty tactics union membership has skyrocketed with over 2000 workers in the fast food in Auckland alone. The inspiring thing for me is that these first time unionists have been deciding what actions to take themselves despite the company’s dirty tactics. There is not a day that goes by where our office is not contacted by a store wanting to go on strike,” he concluded.


NB: Please see attached letters.

Letter from McDonald’s Consultant, David Munro.


It has come to our attention that the following mobile phone text message has been sent to members of our crew.

‘We’re making history. McDonald’s strike against poverty wages and youth rates. This friday 12 noon at Queen Street McDs. All Out! Please pass this txt on2all!’

In conversation with you on the phone earlier this afternoon you indicated that this proposed action is a retaliation to UNITE’s perceived concern about crew rostering this coming Sunday during your union’s afternoon stopwork meeting.

As re-enforced to you on the phone franchisee/managers understand and are instructed to ensure that your union’s members are not disadvantaged in any way by attending that meeting. Any suggestion or evidence that you may have to the contrary will be expeditiously investigated and attended to by us. At this time no problems have been brought to our attention.

Given this context the proposed strike action in the text message is unlawful.

1. Striking over a dispute is unlawful (Section 86 (1) (d))
2. A strike is lawful if it ‘relates to bargaining’ (Section 83 (b)) which does not apply in this case as no bargaining has yet occurred between us.

Any McDonald’s crew member who participates in the proposed action would do so unlawfully and McDonald’s would seek to recover any damages arising.

As just now discussed with you on the phone I will e-mail you shortly with the revised BPA and McDonald’s claims for the bargaining.


David Munro


10 February 2006

David Munro
McDonald’s Representative

Dear David,

Thank you for your email last night. We respond as follows:

1. Your threat to sue your staff is disgraceful.

2. The text you refer to was indeed sent out over the delegates’ network (about 200 individuals) as other messages have been. The exact source is unknown to me. After investigating the cause of these texts I have come to understand that members at the McDonald’s Queen St store who normally work on Sundays were rostered off this Sunday. This was seen by members at the store as a punishment to union members and to make it less likely they could attend the union meeting in the town hall at 2pm. Most live some way from the store and arranging transport is difficult.

3. It is true that some of these members want to take strike action in protest. My information from my staff is that a number of stores who are linked into the text also want to take strike action today.

4. You claim that an instruction has been sent to store managers saying not to treat Unite members when rostering this Sunday. My information is however that the exact opposite is happening.

5. Your protestations that McDonald’s is treating members of Unite neutrally are not borne out by McDonald’s track record to date. For example:

* Tactics include having senior managers approaching union members requesting them to leave their union.

* McDonald’s deliberately holds new members’ fee deductions authorisation forms for several weeks and says to workers individually that if they stay in the union they will have to backdate their fees.

* There have been many occasions where store owners lecture members on their opinions on unionism. You can imagine how young workers and migrants in their first job would feel intimidated.

* When we confront McDonald’s about these practices they claim they have a responsibility to give workers the other side of the story and we should welcome democracy.

* You and I know full well that McDonald’s refuses to deduct fees from nearly 400 members in an attempt to starve their campaign to organise.

* McDonald’s is the only company that claims they don’t have the software to deduct Unite dues and charges us several thousands of dollars to do it.

* Senior company representatives have told me in private that their job is to see the union off McDonald’s stores.

6. The list goes on but you get the picture why we are skeptical of your position that McDonald’s supports fair play over Unite members.

7. Therefore I intend to visit the Queen Street store today at noon and meet with Unite members to establish their grievance.

8. Any decision they wish to make at that meeting will be their decision and your threats against them are unhelpful.

9. I have been informed by a source in McDonald’s that I will be prevented from doing this today. As you are aware I am authorised to enter stores to speak to members.

10. I will advise you of the results of this meeting (if any).

Yours sincerely

Matt McCarten

© Scoop Media

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