By Eric Boehm | Watchdog.org
The fast-food strikes and protests organized around the nation on Thursday were subtly backed by some of America’s biggest unions.
OK, not so subtly.
The AFL-CIO, an umbrella group for dozens of labor unions, and the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, went full-out in their effort to support the protests. Not only did they have plenty of organizers on the ground to work the events – as Wisconsin Reporter’s Ryan Ekvall discovered – they are driving the media’s coverage of the protests too.
Check out the SEIU twitter feed for Thursday:
But fast-food workers are, for the most part, not unionized. So why the big effort in support of people who are not members of the union?
“The fast food workers are fighting for all of us. SEIU members, like all service-sector workers, are worse off when large fast-food and retail companies are able to hold down wages,” SEIU president Mary Key Henry said in a statement.
And, what do you know, there’s Henry on MSNBC’s The Ed Show to talk about the issue – how convenient!
The AFL-CIO got into the act too:
Even unions that have nothing to do with fast food were tweeting up a storm about the protests. Like the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers:
And then there is Fast Food Forward, the “workers’ center” that was the public face of the protests. But it’s hardly surprising to learn that they are a “well-funded, well-oiled, and professionally-staffed collaboration of the Service Employees International Union 32BJ (SEIU 32BJ) and New York Communities for Change (NYCC, formerly ACORN), two big time organizations inextricably intertwined with the Democratic Party,” as Vice Magazine reported last month.
The Restaurant Opportunity Center, a similar organization Watchdog examined in a recent article, operates in a similar manner.
And there’s ROC, adding their solidarity to the rest of the movement on Thursday.
It’s almost like the unions could stand to gain something — like, maybe millions of new members — if they organized the workers at the fast food joints of America. There are more than 3 million Americans working in those jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Boehm is a reporter for Watchdog.org and can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @EricBoehm87