Wednesday, May 12, 2010

unions for fast food restaurants employees

What is union? A union is an organization for workers. Unions protect people from unfairness and conflicts that employees may face in working environment, and unions make sure that employees are safe and secure in the working environment. For instance, if a worker was fired without any good reason, then the union will step in to negotiate with the employer because in order to fire a worker, a worker must do something wrong that is against the company policy. However, many industries, like fast food restaurants, do not like to have unions even though the workers will pay for the unions every pay day. The pay depends on each individual union. Fast food chains think that having unions will give the workers too much power and motivation. In my perspective, unions in fast food restaurants are one crucial element that employees should have because they are being underpaid and injured in the work place.

In the United States, fast food restaurant is one of the fastest growing industries, that keep the American economy rolling. However, behind the counter is the most hectic, frustrating working environment you can ever experience because of it’s incoordinations, for minimum wage. For example, I myself worked at three different fast food restaurants: McDonalds, Burger King, and Wendy’s. Between these 3 restaurants, there are no contrasts. For instance, the stores were always unclean, which made employees work more, and it is difficult to deal with the duties because employees scarcely ever cleaned the kitchen during the business hours. The managers were always unsure of their doings, and their poor communication skills often lead to disputes and conflicts with employees and customers, and their schedules were always scattered, which resulted employees shortness. The most difficult part of working at the registers was dealing with the rude customers. In this matter, I should not fault the customers; I should assail the managers’ lack of organization, which leads to consumers’ madness due to food lateness. Every day, employees would hustle to serve the consumers within one minute, which is the policy of the restaurants. If the workers go over one minute, the manager will more likely to go nuts. And then, there is another freneticism which takes place inside the kitchen. The sandwich makers have less than a minute to finish one order, a order that could have more than two or more orders; in three different boards, each worker makes 3 different types of sandwiches, or three different varieties of foods. The individual workers has to complete the work solitarily. Oftentimes, if there are no helpers during rush hours, the restaurants’ atmosphere will be filled with noises and shouts from both sides of consumers and employees. Sometimes, there were confrontations among the staffs, as well.

first, in fast food restaurants employees are being victimized to work for free by not being paid for overtime, or not being paid at all by managers to save labor. In a report Steve Miletich says, “ In a verdict that could cost Taco Bell millions of dollars, a King County Superior Court jury yesterday that the California-based fast-food chain deliberately cheated its hourly workers in Washington state forcing them to work off the clock and forgo overtime pay” (1). This supports the fact that because this underpay dose not happens in only McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, this also happens in other fast food restaurants. For example, This same scenario happened to myself as well. Only it it did not go to the court. When I worked at Burger King and Wendy’s, the managers cut my hours many times because either I made my 40 hours, or I exceeded 40 hours, which is over time. The chains were supposed to pay for time and a half because it is overtime. For instance, there were many times managers asked me to stay for next shift because oftentimes employees would call out sick, so I would stay, just to make extra earnings. As the pay day, which was Friday, would arrive, I would look into my check, and see no overtime pay, nor overtime hours. However, I never made any complaints because I never wanted to cause any sort of disputes, which I thought could lead me to distrust. This also happened to many of my colleagues. If we had a union they would not have cut our hours, or even steal our working hours.

Second, every year, employees working at fast food chains are injured when handling restaurant equipment. The common types of injuries are slipping and falling, chemical burning, and getting cuts; the worst injuries are oil and fire burns. In a report that was conducted, Sonny Inbaraj wrote, “ Joe, a 16-year-old students, is employed as a kitchen hand at a fast-food outlet here on a casual part-time basis. On one occasion he was injured by fire, but his boss told him it was his own fault and ordered him to keep working to serve the customers” (1). This shows that it is difficult to avoid injuries when you are surrounded by technical machines, especially when operating them throughout the shift because first you are dropping food and taking food in and out of oil, and, second you are cleaning more than one machine at the same time. For instance, when I worked at Burger King I was burned almost all the time when cleaning, and dropping foods. Those fry machines are no joke, and they are not to be played with because one small mistake can lead to a very dangerous scene if not properly handled carefully. For example, one busy summer day, I was told to clean all the fry machines quickly due to employee shortness. At that time, it was my second working week, with short knowledge about the restaurant’s equipment, but I was confident to complete the job. However, that assuredness did so little to help me avoid the flame that burst from the machine because I had forgotten to lock a cover where the oil comes out. Luckily, I was not burned due to my distance way from the fryer, not scabbing or cleaning. What if there weren’t any luck, then I would have been hospitalized with more than thousands of dollars of hospital bills sitting in my house. This is why a union is very important to have. They will help you to pay medical bills. And unions ensures safe conditions.

In conclusion, having unions in fast food restaurants for employees not only can make a differences, but can also save those workers from getting hours cut, and from getting injured. And not only that unions will make sure you are safe and secure in your workplace, unions will make sure that your voice is heard.


Inbaraj Sunny. “ Labor-Australia: fast-Food Workers Seek Union.” IPS-Inter Press Service. June 16,2004, Wednesday.

Miletich Steve. “ Taco Bell Is Found Guilty Of Worker Abuses.” Seattle Post-Intelligencer. April 9, 1997, Wednesday, Final.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

soda tax part 2

The city mayor and state governor of New York, are strenuously trying to retain on to make sugary drinks a penny per ounce tax as a law. However, based on news articles like NY Times, NY Post, Daily News paper, the disputes are ranging in peoples’ point of view. Some people say that, this tax is just a money grab. Others say, it will make positive differences. In my perspective, this soda tax can significantly make huge amount of differences in terms of health wise and economic wise.

Obesity is one of the highest dilemma New Yorkers are facing. And this obesity is worsening over the time periods. Statistics from has shown that adults percentage is 37 and youngsters percentage is 18 in New York. These percentages may soured over time. As mayor Bloomberg has said on the radio broadcast, “ An extra 12 cents on a can of soda would raise nearly $1 billion, allowing us to keep health services open and teachers in classrooms. And, at the same time, it would help us fight a major problem plaguing our children: obesity.” When going outside, you will see overweight people in every turn, especially young overweight students with a can or bottle of highly sugary drinks or energy drinks ,like, Red Bull on their hands. In my class, Eng 101, were in argument about this soda tax, whether this proposal will prevent people from buying sugary drinks. As group 4 were against this soda tax quoted, “ This is nothing, but a money grab.” However, they are ignoring that this tax would help raise billions of dollar funds to pay for health care, especially for those obese people. If government do not do anything, or have control over those consumption industries, than this will go out of hand and it will worsen; when it dose, these industries will produce whatever they like.

And than, there is economic crisis which New Yorkers are confronting with, and it is causing budget deficits as well. The budget deficit in New York has increased from $750 to $8 billion. This budget shortages is causing job losses. In New York Bloomberg is cutting jobs. This soda is going to help this gaps to be fill. Unfortunately, group 4 thinks “it is just a money grab.” Bloomberg said that if this soda bill gets passed it will help many to start to build up the economy.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Anottated Bibliography #3

Joby Warrick. “ Modern Slaughtering Methods Are Inhumane.” The Washington Post Weekly Edition. 2005

In this article, it first gives abstraction about what goes on in the slaughterhouse, in terms of animal cruelty. And it starts in a introduction, it stars by taking a story by IBP meat industry worker’s experiences. For instance, how planters, violate the regulation from Human Slaughter act goes unpunished. As further in paragraphs, it gives details about the types of cattle and hogs abusiveness that are done in plants, from various types of witnesses, and hidden evidence in slaughterhouses. It gives details about improper using stunning in animals and the way slaughtered alive. Example, when cattle are stunned on the head they become unconscious; the worst part is when the animals are killed and being sliced bit by bit while they are alive. There are no conclusion in this news article.

Chris Clarke. “ Mad Cow: worse than you think.” Earth Island Journal. Summer 2004.

This article begins the passage by an incidence which took place in December, about a cattle which was found positive for mad cow disease, and one month later, the USDA failed to detect 80 animals that were fed in same herd could have infected. The infected cattle that were shifted from Canada to Washington. Since than, it has developed many frightened , especially when 100 Britons died by the beef contamination of agony. After that, the ban an testing the downer cows to not to be used for consumptions. Next paragraph states that secretary of Agriculture delayed the “ country of origin labeling” shortly known for COOL, could have helped to trace the infected cows from Canada. As further down the paragraph, it discusses about nv-CJD, a name of mad cow disease. Nv- CSD is a worsen tissue that is inside a nervous system, which can cause disease know as TSE. Next paragraph describes the foundation of TSE. It describes that TSE is invented when animals are fed “ bypass-protein,” by using tube, the consequences can cause infection. When cattle bowel is empty, the are shifted to slaughter house for meat packaging. No conclusion in this passage. “ Bad Beef? “undercover investigation spurs largest beef recall in history. March 3, 2008.

In this passage, an investigation revealed what types treatment was given to the animals on a video at the plant. In the video, it mentions how a cow was being treated by fork lifting, and the violence that was used on the cow. The article mentions, because it’s treatment can lead to infection, and most importantly, can make people outbreaks when consuming the meat. Than, it explains the federal laws, that before shipping the animals to slaughterhouse, are to be inspected for any downer cows. When anonymous investigator went undercover as an employee, it discovered that many of those workers do not feel any sympathy when torturing those animals. It went to say that animals are cruelly mistreated when they are brought to the plants. Workers would hit, kick, use physical forces. After the video was aired about these scenes, all meats were pulled.

Gail A. Eisnitz. “Slaughterhouse. The shocking story of greed, neglect, and inhumane treatment inside the U.S. meat industry.” “ Mommy, Am I going to die?”

In this chapter, it first starts with open questions about E. coli questioned by Mary Heersink, a founder of Safe Tables Our Priority. Next paragraph, talks about Timothy Walker who works for USDA. Next paragraph, tells a story of Mary Heersink’s son who past away from eating “tainted” burger. Mary told her parts about her son’s illness with other parents, whose children were as well contaminated by eating burger. In each paragraphs, talks about the sufferings each children being in the hospital. For instance, Brianne, who was in hospitalized for 168 days. And gives details about how her facial have changed when eating a hamburger. Next couple of paragraphs talks about the transitions in the hospital.

Karen Ollson. The Nation. “ The Shame Of Meat Packing” September 16, 2002.

In this story, it takes about how workers are being treated unfairly in these meat packing industries, like IBP, Excel, ConAgra, and farmland Nation Beef which 85% are controlled by US market. In the beginning of this passage, it started with an incidence which was an employee was reluctant to keep up with his speed. The supervisor threatened all employees if they did not want back to their duties. When went under strike with help of Teamster Local 556, had given some strength, especially Martinez, who were once as well a farmer and meat packer. On paragraphs it speaks about the union. Before the union, employees were working under a risk and dangerous work environment, making knives all the time. It states that about 781 were injured. Many of these reason were due to language barrier, which also helps these meat industries to keep these worker keep quiet because they do speak any English.