Statement by AFL-CIO President John Sweeney
Denouncing McDonald’s Opposition to the
Employee Free Choice Act
December 9, 2008
Working men and women should be deeply concerned about McDonald’s USA’s announcement that it will throw its super-sized weight into defeating legislation to restore workers’ freedom to bargain with their employers and improve their jobs through unions. Working people know that the bargaining power they gain through unions for fair wages, better health care, pensions and job security is our nation’s single best tool for creating an economy that works for all - - 60 million say they’d join a union tomorrow if given the chance. In launching a campaign to defeat the Employee Free Choice Act, McDonald’s has taken direct aim at the customers and communities it serves and is shooting down their best chance at realizing their aspirations for their families and futures.
Corporations like McDonald’s and their CEOs hold all the cards in today’s economy and working families are left to struggle with the economy they leave behind. McDonald’s CEO James Skinner took home over $12.3 million in total compensation last year. If he were paid by the hour, he would make nearly 600 times the less than $10/hour pay of many of McDonald’s 600,000 employees.
McDonald’s could not have picked a more telling moment to announce its decision to actively fight reform of our nation’s broken labor laws. Tomorrow, human rights activists worldwide will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which declares that workers’ freedom to form and join unions is a fundamental human right. Human Rights Watch warns that the U.S. labor law is so broken and its penalties so weak that U.S. workers have effectively lost their fundamental human right to freely associate and bargain in unions. McDonald’s has now positioned itself squarely on the side of those opposing the protection of this basic human right.
The AFL-CIO plans to make sure the 10 million working men and women who make up our membership know that McDonald’s has just announced a whopper of a campaign against their economic interests and against their hopes for an economy that works for all, not just for the CEOs.