McDonald’s franchise business model–one in which the parent company rejects any responsibility to its franchise workers for wages, benefits, and working conditions–is under attack by the National Labor Relations Board, according to the company and the International Franchise Association. And Republican legislators in Congress are sympathetic to their call for help.

We report here on matters that recently piqued the interest of C4AD:

  • Proposed state-wide regulations for ride-sharing services like Uber support the company’s view that its drivers are self-employed contractors
  • A quick look at two local anti-poverty efforts: the Cincinnati Preschool Promise program and Mayor John Cranley’s target without a program
  • A bill in the legislature would reduce financial contributions from Ohio employers while replenishing money in the unemployment fund. To perform this magic, the bill would slash unemployment benefits for workers even more.
  • A bill proposed by Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Westwood), a vigorous opponent of immigration reform, would bring in thousands of unskilled foreign workers for seasonal jobs.

In the Fight for $15, McDonald’s is emblematic of the problems confronting fast-food workers and all low-wage earners in the U.S.

It is estimated that 96 percent of fast-food workers make less than $15 per hour, and most (55 percent) rely on public assistance.

McDonald’s employees receive an estimated $1.2 billion each year in public assistance, which is equivalent to 25 percent of McDonald’s 2014 net income of $4.8 billion. As a result, taxpayers provide not only financial support for the company’s employees but also, in effect, a financial subsidy that boosts McDonald’s profits.

McDonald’s sends these profits, and additional money that it borrows, to its shareholders using dividends and stock buybacks.

Stock buybacks, in the view of some economists, are a major cause of U.S. income inequality, the loss of middle-class jobs, and a sluggish recovery from the Great Recession.

Recommendations to retain high-skilled, documented immigrants and to protect undocumented immigrants were part of a plan announced Oct. 28 by Mayor John Cranley’s Immigration Task Force aimed at making Cincinnati “the most immigrant-friendly city in the United States.

“While there is political rhetoric around the country saying (immigration) is not a good thing, we are emphatically saying we love immigration, we want more immigration,” Cranley said. “We believe it is a key to our economic future and to a better, more just society.”