Kathryn Slater-Carter currently owns a single McDonald’s franchise location in Daly City, CA.
She used to own more, and has been a part of the Mickey D’s family since 1982. But things have changed significantly over the time that she’s been in business—and according to her, not necessarily for the better.
As the intensity of her issues with the Golden Arches rose, Slater-Carter finally decided she couldn’t take it anymore. Now, she’s at the forefront of legislation that’s currently in front of the California Assembly that would give franchisees more rights.
She told the Washington Post about the battle, giving non-franchisees everywhere some rare insight into life from a franchisee’s point of view.
For the uninitiated, here’s a handy video explaining exactly how franchise agreements work:
Among the items Slater-Carter shared was that a McDonald’s representative apparently told her that, “You guys can make more money if you pay your employees less.” That revelation seems to corroborate the recent decision by the National Labor Relations Board to consider McDonald’s as “joint employers” of workers in their franchisee’s restaurants.
As background, Slater-Carter related that she basically grew up in the McDonald’s family, and that her dad used to work with company founder Ray Kroc. She says that she felt the business was a great place to be a franchisee when she first started, but that the culture changed significantly after Kroc died.
Slater-Carter also shared her perspective regarding the ongoing struggle fast food workers are facing to raise the minimum wage and have the right to organize. According to her,
[pullquote]”[If McDonald’s workers unionized], I think the biggest negative effect would be that corporations, the big guys, couldn’t suck as much money off the top. I have mixed emotions on unions, and I told SEIU this. Sometimes I think the union benefits are a little over the top. But by the same token, in this stagnant economy that we’ve got, the little people are getting screwed. So I’m sure you know of the lawsuits for wage theft from the employees against McDonald’s operators in California. Wage theft is wrong, and it comes a point at which people do need to protect themselves and their interests. If they’re working, they deserve to be paid.”[/pullquote]
Relatedly, it’s worth noting that at the end of July, Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison and Georgia Representative John Lewis introduced a bill that, if enacted, would essentially make labor organizing a basic civil right for everyone.