Your car may be the future cockpit of the Internet of Things (IoT), and your house will be largely managed by apps in a few years, but the big change coming down the road is the Internet of People. (IoP). Actually, it’s just about here now.
I just used an app called Map My Walk to….map my morning walk around the lake.
This post is especially important for members of management in the restaurant industry.
I would be astounded if you work in any part of management in the restaurant industry and haven’t already heard about this, but just in case, I wanted to do a post that summarizes some of the dramatic, ground breaking labor relations developments that have taken place over the last month or so in your industry.
Fast food workers are going on strike. On April 4th in New York City, more than 400 fast food workers walked off the job, demanding wage increases, more hours, and the right to join a union without interference. According to published reports, workers from 60 to 70 restaurants, including large brands like McDonald’s, Burger King, Papa John’s, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut participated in the strike. The strike action was organized by a group called Fast Food Forward.
On April 24th, a similar strike action took place in Chicago, as fast-food and retail workers took over downtown Chicago, demanding wage increases as part of The “Fight for $15 campaign” . As in New York, this group was supported by a coalition of local community, labor and faith-based organizations — including the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago, a group of downtown fast-food and retail workers that launched in November 2012. Affected companies included big-name companies like Macy’s, Subway, Victoria’s Secret, McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Nike.
In May, similar protests and strike events have been held in Oakland, St. Louis , and Detroit. I’d click through the various links for the various cities to see more on who was impacted and how these events played out.
Employees protest at Burger King, Wendy’s, Domino’s, KFC, McDonald’s in NYC
Employees of various fast food chains in New York City engaged in a one day work stoppage, calling for wage increases and improvements in their benefit programs. This action took place on the heels of the “Black Friday” strike events aimed at Walmart.
Here’s a round-up of news headlines related to the event:
Micro-breweries are great. We have a couple of great ones here in the Tampa area that you should check out if you are ever in the area – Ybor City Brewing Company and the Dunedin Brewery. That’s the fun part of this post.
Here’s the rest, which is not so fun.
More than a year ago, I wrote about the possibility that businesses would start to see the recognition of something called “Micro Unions” in the workplace.
About now, you’re probably saying something like “What the hell’s a micro union”?”
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the mediation agency charged with interpreting and maintaining the fairness of unionizing efforts nationwide, will soon decide whether or not labor unions can break off different sections of workforces into small groups to organize five or 10 workers at a time instead of the entire workplace at once – or organize using “micro unions.”
The “micro unions” would essentially allow labor organizers to section off company employees by specific job descriptions. For example, if a union were trying to organize a restaurant staff, leaders would target servers, dishwashers, cooks and hostesses separately.
This is happening now. Earlier this month, the NLRB told Neiman Marcus that their argument that a sub-unit of people in one of their stores in New York would be subject to a union election.
This is the unit that he NLRB determined was right:
INCLUDED: All full-time and regular part-time women’s shoes associates in the 2nd Floor Designer Shoes Department and in the 5th Floor Contemporary Shoes Department employed in the Employer’s retail store located at 754 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York.
Not just the shoe department, but the women’s shoe department – located on the 2nd and 5th floors. Wow.
This isn’t the first time this has happened, and it certainly won’t be the last.
I didn’t know that Walmart had Associate Resource Groups like these, devoted to creating diversity and minority communties inside their company.
I don’t know how effective they are, or anything more than that they have them, but it was kind of a pleasant discovery. I found out about them while looking at this story in which unions and other groups in New York City that are trying to keep Walmart from opening stores there are charging that Walmart is a homophobic company. This would seem to indicate that at least in some ways they are not, which is a good thing.
From the New York Daily News:
Walmart’s values are not our values and they are certainly not New York’s. Stonewall Democratic Club is committed to building a city that is free from intolerance towards all Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered people – a city that remains Walmart free.”
In fact, there seems to have been a sudden outbreak of homophobic companies across the United States. I saw another story today charging that Chick-Fil-A is an anti-gay company. The response from Chick-FiL-A doesn’t seem to indicate that they sponsor any sort of groups similar to the Associate resource Groups at Walmart. It did cause them to face some heat on their Facebook page though.
The gay chicken row: Chick-Fil-A’s anti-gay stance sparks protest as loyal customers turn on chain
The company’s president Dan Cathy said in a statement: ‘Chick-Fil-A’s corporate purpose is ‘To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us, and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-Fil-A.’
Debate: The chain’s Facebook page has been choked with messages – both for an against homosexuality
‘As a result, we will not champion any political agendas on marriage and family. This decision has been made, and we understand the importance of it.’
He did however add that the company would ‘continue to offer resources to strengthen marriages and families’.
‘To do anything different would be inconsistent with our purpose and belief in Biblical principles’.
Tips for dealing with accusations agaisnt your company
Charges that your company is homophobic, or has designs against any group can be brought up by anyone at any time. In today’s social media environment, these things can quickly become the focus of discussion on official company web portals like a Facebook page. Here are three things HR people should be thinking about as you read this.
What strategies do you have, or need to put in place to avoid these kinds of charges?
As part of your social media strategy, doyou have a plan in place to deal with communciating on such topics?
If you have social media discussion portals, do you have a contingency plan ready to go in the event your site becomes a discussion forum for a topic that may be harming your brand, or uncomfortable for your fans and followers to see?
Under the National Labor Relations Act, employees are granted the right to engage in collective action aimed at improving the terms and conditions of employment in their workplace. employers are prohibited from taking disciplinary action against employees for doing so, or otherwise taking any type of retaliatory action aimed at dissuading employees from exercising these rights.
If you are unclear on what protected concerted activity looks like, here is a very specific, very clear example for your review. Employees at a New York City Starbucks sent this letter to the corporation on Monday, the 2011 Martin Luther King Holiday, as a group of employees declared their support for and membership in the Starbucks Workers Union.
Starbucks Workers Union letter
To Adler Ludvigsen, Howard Schultz, et al.,
Today we are declaring our membership in the Industrial Workers of The World, Starbucks Workers Union. We have spent many months, some of us years, working at Astor Place and we have come to feel that things must change. We spend more of our time at the store than any other place outside of our homes. We depend on our jobs for our livelihood. We have joined the Union because we feel that as human beings we have the right to have a say in the decisions regarding our living and working conditions and because it is clear that if we do not stand up for ourselves, Starbucks will not act in our best interests. We also care about the work that we do and we feel that until we begin to be treated fairly we will be unable to provide the customers who patronize our store with adequate services.
The following is a list of specific demands that Starbucks must meet if they truly follow their mission statement of putting partners first and catering to the needs of our customers:
Fair Compensation For Time Worked: Astor Place is one of the highest volume stores in the country. We work extremely hard to make sure that the high level of demand from our customers is met – and with a smile and a positive attitude. Yet our wages place many of us below the poverty level and all of us below the level of a living wage for New York City. We demand all Astor Place Workers receive a $1 per an hour raise. We also demand that we are given fair employee reviews. As Astor Place workers we all put in an above average effort and our performance reviews should reflect that.
Fair Scheduling Practices: On top of low wages, many Astor Place workers are not given an adequate number of hours to make ends meet. Our schedules are inconsistent and given out last minute. We all have lives, friends, loved ones, and other jobs and commitments outside of the store yet we are treated as though our only obligation is to be on call to work when it is convenient for the company. Additionally while we are working we often find that we must work extra hard due to understaffing. We demand direct employee participation in the creation of the schedules; respecting workers requests for vacations and time off; regular scheduling for those who need it; giving workers as many hours as they need to make ends meet up to full time; schedules produced 3 weeks in advance. We also demand that the store is scheduled to be fully staffed at all times; and an end to hiring new partners while cutting hours for current employees.
Respect and Dignity: The relationship between managers and workers is always an unequal one. Nonetheless we are human beings – adults – and deserve to be treated as such. Management consistently talks down to workers and displays disrespect through their actions. For example at work we must ask permission to go to the bathroom like children. There is also a consistent show of favoritism in the store. We demand that management addresses workers with a tone of respect at all times; an end to favoritism in the workplace; when workers call out sick they should not be questioned as to the nature of their illness or be written up for being sick or be forced to take on the burden for finding someone to cover their shift.
Workplace Democracy: The following demand has two parts.
A) We live in a country that holds democracy as a central value. At work, the location where we spend almost half of our waking hours, we are denied any form of democratic rights. Decisions regarding the day to day operations of our store, including the organization of the floor, scheduling, the repair, maintenance, and replacement of equipment, the distribution of rewards, the deployment of labor, affect us as workers more than anyone else. We demand worker participation regarding all decisions made at a store level.
B) Not only are we excluded from participating in the decisions that affect our lives directly, we are not even provided with a forum to express our opinions. We demand a once a month optional meeting where all employees of Astor Place are invited to discuss the operations of the store; the meeting should be held twice the day it occurs so that all employees can attend, regardless of when they are scheduled to work; the store manager and ASMs must be present at both meetings; employees not managers, must run the meetings and union presence must be permitted at the meetings.
Justice For Our Coworkers: It is our right to form a union, and to stand up for ourselves as workers. Starbucks has consistently violated this right by unfairly disciplining and firing union workers. WE DEMAND THAT CATHERINE ARREDONDO of Astor Place and TYLER SWAIN of 15th and Douglas Omaha, Nebraska be reinstated immediately.
Cason Bolton Jr.
Unions remain interested in organizing the restaurant business
Franchisees of the restaurant chain Jimmy John’s are facing a new organizing effort from the Jimmy John’s Workers Union, which is supported by the IWW, the same group that has been working to organize Starbucks in Minneapolis, Michigan, New York, and other states. Workers apparently walked off the job in the last few days to announce their demands for improvements in wages and benefits.
“All we’re asking is for the Mulligans to meet with us. If they’re going to disrespect us by refusing to even talk to us, then they’re in for a bumpy ride. The pressure won’t stop until they meet our demands for more than minimum wage, sick days, and basic fairness,” said Jake Foucault, a delivery driver at Jimmy Johns.
The “union” has called for a national week of action to publicize their fledgling effort. Events so far have been creative, and designed to attract intention, such as a bicycle protest in Minneapolis, and a protest at a Jimmy John’s located on Wealthy Street in Grand Rapids, MI will be held on Labor Day. The union says it expects leafleting and picketing planned in 32 of 39 states in which the company operates, as part of the National Week of Action.
As usual, I will end with my usual reminder: HR people and managers, including franchise owners in the restaurant/ QSR industry would be well served to pay attention to this effort, and the issues that are driving it.
This is a guest post from Jeremy Shapiro aka HRMetricsguy, from Hodes iQ. He initially submitted to run as part of the Carnival, but it was way past the deadline, and I had some guest post opportunities coming up this week, so I am running it today. I hope you enjoy it!
Simpson’s paradox (or the Yule-Simpson effect) is an apparent paradox in which the successes of groups seem reversed when the groups are combined. This result is often encountered in social and medical science statistics, and occurs when frequency data are hastily given causal interpretation; the paradox disappears when causal relations are derived systematically, through formal analysis.
Or, more simply (my version): Sometimes, because one subgroup of data can be much larger than another group, the total average looks better (or worse) than what’s really going on.
For unemployment, what Cari reported is that for college graduates and high school graduates, employment is really worse than the 80’s, but the total average doesn’t reflect this reality on the ground. Consider this:
Total Unemployment 25 and Older
For College Grads
For High School Dropouts:
And there’s the paradox at work, both College grads and High School dropouts are worse off, but the total unemployment data does not reflect the reality. Why? There are more college grads today (1/3rd of the working population) vs. 1983 (1/4 of the working population), which skews comparisons between the 2 recessions!
The WSJ article is good reading. It should be noted that the analysis was done by Henry Farber , an economist from Princeton found here.
It stinks that I can’t be at Social Recruiting Summit!
Good luck to everyone involved with the event today, especially my good friend Laurie Ruettimann who will be the host, whatever that means!
Attendees are in for a real treat today in that they get to see Fred Wilson speak. Great to see someone from outside the HR sphere participating at this event. Check out Fred’s advance presentation release below!
I attended portions of the Fall 2009 ERE Expo that was held at the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood Florida last week. I had to miss quite a few of the sessions as I had other meetings to take care in the Miami area on this visit. This provided a bit of a different dynamic for this conference over some of the others I have recently attended. This was due to the fact that a lot of the connections and dialogue that I participated in at the conference was with small groups of people in informal settings, rather than following the bigger dialogue of speakers and groups in the sessions.
While I would have enjoyed watching the sessions, I still found the conference to be a very valuable event.
You can find the slide decks and video recording that are available in the same place I did, which is here. One of the most discussed presentations that I did get to see was given by the “2 Steve’s from Adidas”. You can see it below.
Employment Branding at Adidas
Here are my random thoughts on my personal highlights from the conference.
Cool stuff making for great cocktail party fodder!
Fabulous Networking Opportunities
The dudes at ERE Expo and their clients know how to rock a party!
I only paid for one drink in three days, and was invited to at least half a dozen full on soirees over the span of the show.
The first conference networking event was a “near the pool/beach” reception with roving servers delivering canapes, a hot food bar, and a nice selection of liquor, wine and beer. I would estimate attendance at well over 150. I met many people for the first time, and enjoyed renewing long running conversations with many others.
We then moved upstairs for a marvelous networking opportunity that also offered an opportunity to donate to a charitable cause. This was a Texas Hold’em event put on by the ERE Foundation. I may have “lost” $35 dollars, but that was more than made up for with fun and awesome networking! Special thanks to Sarah White and Jeremy Langhans, who helped put the event together.
Then I moved to the NAS party that I had been invited to by the charming and gracious hostess, Tara Repucci where we enjoyed sushi and Kirin Ichiban beer and some great conversation.
Next it was off to Rivals for the Indeed.com party where there were so many people I can’t even count them all. It got wild and crazy. I spent a lot of time talking to new friends like Jenny DeVaughn, Miriam Salpeter, and Melyssa Berstein.
Social media once again played a major role at an HR conference, despite sketchy wifi service. People were tweeting and blogging. This element totally changes the dynamic of a conference for those of us who can access the “hidden audience”. Show planners need to learn to factor this in and take advantage of it!
Here is a long list of people I knew before ERE or met for the first time while at the show. I know I left some out. Please ask to be added to the list if you are unintentionally ommitted!