Workers and organized labor groups took to protesting fast food companies last week in a multi-state effort to build public support for a $15 an hour minimum wage hike.
But a peek into one group’s own labor contract reveals a delicious irony.
The Restaurant Opportunities Center United, which claims the support of 13,000 restaurant workers and with at least 11 affiliates across the country, forbids its own workers from protesting against management.
“It is mutually agreed that there shall be no strikes, lock-outs, sit downs, sit ins, slowdowns, sympathy strikes, picketing, stoppage or interruption of work, or direct or indirect interference or interruption of the operations of the Employer during the term of this Agreement,” states a two-year collective-bargaining agreement dated Jan. 4, 2013.
What’s more, ROC employees are represented in the collective-bargaining agreement by the Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia. The guild, or labor union, represents seven newspapers, including The Philadelphia Inquirer.
“We represent a wide variety of newspaper employees … and the Restaurant Opportunities Centers coordinators in Philadelphia, New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Miami,” reads the guild’s website.
Mike Paranzino, communications director for a labor watchdog called ROC Exposed, said it makes sense for ROC to show they’re open to unionization. But for their employees to choose a newspaper guild is another story.