The Deregulation Revolution Is Real, But Is It Enough?

’m not much of a fast-food guy. I’ll pull into McDonald’s for an Egg McMuffin when I’m traveling, but typically I stay away from such fare… except for Chick-fil-A.

Occasionally, I’ll lose restraint and drive through the Chicken Shack, but I think that’s part of my DNA. The combination of fried chicken and friendly service is a weakness for most people raised in the South.

But, several years ago, I gladly drove through a nearby McDonald’s for lunch. I wasn’t drawn in by a promotional campaign or the seasonal McRib sandwich.

I was lured by a protest.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), an organization that serves as a voice for two million working-class people, had recently started a campaign to raise the minimum wage paid to fast-food restaurant workers to $15 per hour.

In a free market, I’m not a fan of minimum wage.

I believe it acts more as an anchor than a support for workers. If the rate nearly doubled to $15, businesses would be motivated to adopt new technology instead of paying people higher wages. (This proved to be true as McDonald’s recently rolled out self-order kiosks across the country.)

So, on the appointed day when the SEIU called for a boycott of McDonald’s nationwide to bring attention to their cause, I specifically chose to risk indigestion and drive through, to show support for franchise owners.

My counter protest was small, but why not?

The SEIU didn’t win that fight, but they didn’t lose, either. Several states and many cities raised their minimum wages in recent years in no small part due to the union’s efforts.

But the federal government didn’t take the bait. At least, not in Congress.

The last administration provided the Department of Labor with informal guidance to view franchise employees as joint employees with the main business. This meant that the federal government would a view a worker at a McDonald’s in “Anywhere, USA,” as an employee of both the franchisee and McDonald’s corporation.

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