In Rare Move, McDonald’s Franchisee Speaks Out

By Carla Murphy Aug 05, 2014

Kathryn Slater-Carter owns a McDonald’s in Daly City, California, and she’s one of a few franchise owners speaking publicly about the minimum wage battle embroiling her industry. Slater-Carter is spearheading union-backed legislation in her state to give franchise owners more rights, a three-year-old effort getting more publicity since the National Labor Relations Board ruled recently that it will treat McDonald’s as a "joint employer" of fast-food workers. Before, McDonald’s could pass the buck on worker conditions to franchisees but this decision could potentially recalibrate the power balance between corporate and franchise owners. Slater-Carter explains that she and other owners are at the mercy of corporate decision-makers. She has a lot to say, too, about fast food workers and the challenges they face:

To be able to offer health insurance we would have had to raise prices significantly. And that’s on low-income people. Part of the problem is, and this is what I told the McDonald’s folks when they wanted us to lower our wages, the cost of living here is too high. …

[If McDonald’s workers unionized], I think the biggest negative effect would be that corporations, the big guys, couldn’t suck as much money off the top. I have mixed emotions on unions, and I told SEIU this. Sometimes I think the union benefits are a little over the top. But by the same token, in this stagnant economy that we’ve got, the little people are getting screwed. So I’m sure you know of the lawsuits for wage theft from the employees against McDonald’s operators in California. Wage theft is wrong, and it comes a point at which people do need to protect themselves and their interests. If they’re working, they deserve to be paid.

Read more at The Washington Post. And at The Nation, learn more about the new House bill designed to "make labor organizing a basic freedom no different than freedom from racial discrimination."