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16 March 2006

Supersize my paycheque!

From the LabourStart mailing list, I heard about the quixotic battle of New Zealand fast food workers in the organisation called Unite to organise a union for minimum-wage workers at McDonalds, as well as KFC, Burger King, Pizza Hut and a call centre. The group has already coordinated the first ever strike at Starbucks.
McDonalds is represented in negotiations by the infamous union-busters Teasdale Associates. They successfully busted a service-workers union attempt to organise fast-food workers in the 1990s, but the government of New Zealand is likely to be more supportive of labour than was the US government at any time in the last thirty years. An attempted strategy of giving exclusive pay-rises to non-union members backfired when Unite won a legal challenge against it. See, in America they probably would have got away with that.
In related breaking news, a journalist was assaulted by a McDonalds negotiator. See the Unite website, supersizemypay.com, for more on that and other Unite issues and campaigns.

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