Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

MAY 22, 2007

Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. Read in 2000, summer vacation.


[71] Tricon Global Restaurants (corp) owner Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC.

Committee for Employment Opportunities: Lobby group for chain restaurants. Chief lobbyist is Bill Signer. Lobbied, for example, to continue tax credits and subsidies given by US govt for training of workers.

[73] Between 1968 and 1990 the real value of the US minimum wage fell by 40%. However the National Restaurant Association have vehemently opposed any rise in the minimum wage at federal, state or local level. In fact about 60 large food service companies have backed legislation that would effectively eliminate the minimum wage by allowing states to disregard it. In the meantime executive’s pay has gone on going up.

[74-75] In 1997 a jury in Washington State found that Taco Bell had systematically coerced crew workers into working off the clock in order to avoid paying them overtime. Similar cases are now pending in other states, notably Oregon and California.

Macdonalds and Unionisation: Fiercely oppose unionisation. Employs special teams of attorneys and top executives to go to any location where there is suspected unionisation. In 1973 there was a dispute in San Francisco where it turned out Macdonalds were administering polygraph tests to employees suspected of being union members. In 1993 in Montreal the employees of one restaurant attempted to unionise and were stuck in the court for a year. The owners of the restaurant brought in 15 attorneys and when the workers eventually won their battle, the restaurant was immediately closed and the same franchisees opened another one elsewhere in the city.

In the mid 90s the Occupational Safety and Health administration concerned at the level of violence, for example homicides and armed robberies, at fast food restaurants produced a set of guidelines which were strongly opposed by the industry. For example the National Restaurant Association and other groups lobbied more than a hundred congressman to oppose these guidelines.

[100-1] Franchisee abuse.

IFA - Independent Franchisee Association, associated to the fast food industry.

Fast food companies, e.g. burger king, have abused the SBA’s [?] small business administration’s loans for small businesses by using it to fund new franchises which appear to have had a higher than average default rate (it has been suggested that these loans were used particularly to fund the openings in more difficult or riskier areas.)