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Some Super-Sized Union Dues: The SEIU stands to rake in billions by unionizing fast-food workers

To the SEIU, the millions spent on unionizing fast-food workers may make the SEIU billions in union dues.


In the Spring of 2010, the Service Employees International Union’s ambitious plan to unionize fast-food workers was exposed.

Although the SEIU’s plan changed slightly from the orginal draft, the basic premise of tying the union’s campaign to unionize fast-food workers to a “living wage campaign” has not changed all that much.

However, it wasn’t until November 2012, that the SEIU launched the first of several fast-food “strikes” (most of the so-called strikers are not actual employees but paid-SEIU protesters) and its “Fight for $15 (and a union)” campaign commenced.

Since then, the SEIU has spent tens of millions—an astounding $38 million was spent in 2013 alone, according to Worker Center Watch—on its campaign to unionize fast-food workers.

The SEIU has engaged in one of the largest and most aggressive industry-wide corporate campaigns in the history of U.S. unions.

It has staged protests, engaged other liberal groups in a public smear campaign against the industry giant, McDonalds, and is helping workers file charges against fast-food chains with agencies like OSHA and the National Labor Relations Board.

As the millions of dollars in dues money the SEIU is spending on its campaign is staggering, one must wonder what the potential payoff might be to the SEIU.

Given the amount of fast-food employees in the United States, that is fairly easy to calculate.

In 2013, there were 3,653,168 fast food restaurant employees in the U.S., according to one source.

Unions survive on the payment of union dues. The SEIU’s minimum union dues (for workers making between $5,000 and $16,000 per year) are $27 per month.

If the SEIU’s efforts pay off and the union succeeds in unionizing even one third (1,217,723) of the nation’s fast-food workers, the SEIU stands to rake in up to $34,336,521 per month.

That’s $412,038,252 every year in dues alone–or over $1.2 billion over the course of a three-year contract.

For a part-time fast-food worker making $9 per hour, that part-time worker would work three hours every month just to pay union dues. [Again, those are the minimum dues, according to the SEIU’s own constitution.]

In addition, with the high turnover rate in the fast-food industry, for every new worker hired, the SEIU would also receive initiation fees.

Now, if it prevails, that is one super-sized payday for the SEIU.

4 comments

  • They should be unionized at least then they would have a voice in their work place. It’s about time these fast food Giants have to belly up at the bargaining table. The unions are not the bad guys it’s these mega sized businesses that cry that the workers are out to take their profits away from them. We should remember it was their workers that made those profits for them, not that barley edible crap they serve on their menus .

  • Stop posting unsolicited items on my facebook page. UNION POWER! Power to the SEIU! for helping poor people stand up to the rich. I’m a preschool teacher and one day I told a parent it would be $20 per week to provide hot lunch to his child. The rich parent scoffed at me and exclaimed, “That’s the price of a cocktail in the City”. He needs to make less and I need to make more. Unions are one proven way to achieve that.

  • People sont understand that inflation will occur with higher wages. Most of the labor force is filling up with millennials that need to pay school. Unions go based on seniority not performance. So where do we stand? Working 10 hrs a week paying 25% of check to union so that they get rich? I have been in a union, i had no hours. What helped me was my promotions, but if it wast for that id be living in the streets . Union is good for seniority and that equals unproductive workers.

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