This Fast Food Giant Bragged About Killing $15 Minimum Wage

This story is co-published with The Daily Poster

The guardian firm of a few of America’s largest quick meals chains is claiming credit score for convincing Congress to exclude a $15 minimal wage from the latest COVID aid invoice, in line with inside firm paperwork reviewed by The Daily Poster. The firm, which is owned by a non-public fairness agency named after an Ayn Rand character, additionally says it’s now working to thwart new union rights laws.

The firm’s boasts come just some months after a government report discovered that a few of its chains had among the many highest proportion of employees counting on meals stamps.

Inspire Brands — which owns Jimmy Johns, Arby’s, Sonic, and Buffalo Wild Wings, plus not too long ago acquired Dunkin’ Donuts for $11.3 billion in November — on Thursday despatched workers and franchisees a evaluation of its authorities lobbying exercise that highlighted its success in maintaining the $15 minimal wage out of Democrats‘ American Rescue Plan, the COVID-19 aid invoice President Joe Biden signed earlier this month.

“We were successful in our advocacy efforts to remove the Raise the Wage Act, which would have increased the federal minimum wage to $15 and eliminated the tip credit,” reads the report.

Further down, the report notes the corporate’s ongoing lobbying marketing campaign within the Senate in opposition to the PRO Act, which not too long ago handed the House and incorporates a laundry listing of organized labor’s objectives, similar to eliminating right-to-work legal guidelines and banning necessary company-sponsored conferences which can be designed to discourage union exercise.

“Under this proposed rule, franchisors could be considered the direct employer of the franchise owners in their system, as well as the restaurant workers those owners employ, taking away the independence of small business owners,” the doc stated.

“You get the impression that they’re actively spitting in our eye, saying ‘Yes, we worked to suppress wages of our employees and we’re just going to brazenly tell you,'” one Inspire Brands employee advised The Daily Poster. “I really do think that a line was crossed. You’re just going to brazenly tell your employees, ‘not only did we work to kill wages, but going forward we’re also going to make sure that the PRO Act doesn’t pass either.'”

Inspire Brands didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Government Report on Low Wages Spotlighted Inspire Brands’ Companies

During the 2020 marketing campaign, Democrats pledged to boost the minimal wage to $15 an hour, which might enhance the wages of 32 million employees nationwide, in line with a latest report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

However, efforts to incorporate a $15 minimal wage in Biden’s pandemic assist invoice failed after the Senate parliamentarian suggested Democrats such a hike shouldn’t be handed by price range reconciliation and Vice President Kamala Harris declined to make use of her authority to override the choice.

Inspire Brands’ success in eliminating the minimal wage hike from the invoice follows Dunkin’ Brands’ then-CEO Nigel Travis saying in 2015 {that a} $15 wage could be “absolutely outrageous.” At the time, unions famous that Travis was being paid greater than $4,000 each hour.

The minimal wage defeat additionally follows an October 2020 report from the Government Accountability Office discovering that low-wage employees at Dunkin’ Donuts, Arby’s, and Sonic had been amongst these relying most closely on meals stamps in states the place these franchises function. In 2019, some Sonic employees walked off the job in Ohio in protest of low pay.

While paying lots of its employees beneath $15, Inspire Brands’ franchises are producing $26 billion in annual income and enriching prime executives. The founding father of Jimmy John’s — which has been accused of busting employee union drives — not too long ago boasted on his web site that he was named one of many planet’s wealthiest males.

In the yr earlier than Inspire acquired his firm, Dunkin’ Brands’ CEO was paid hundreds of thousands after which made hundreds of thousands extra when the deal closed.

In government filings that yr, Dunkin’ Brands warned buyers in regards to the prospect of low-wage employees being paid higher.

“A significant number of our franchisees’ food-service employees are paid at rates related to the U.S. federal minimum wage and applicable minimum wages in foreign jurisdictions and past increases in the U.S. federal minimum wage and foreign jurisdiction minimum wage have increased labor costs, as would future such increases,” the corporate wrote. “Any increases in labor costs might result in franchisees inadequately staffing restaurants. Understaffed restaurants could reduce sales at such restaurants, decrease royalty payments, and adversely affect our brands.”

The firm additionally bragged that “none of our employees are represented by a labor union, and we believe our relationships with our employees are healthy.”

“Our Name Signifies Our Admiration for the Qualities Embodied by Howard Roark”

Inspire Brands is majority owned by Roark Capital — a $23 billion personal fairness large named after the self-centered protagonist of Ayn Rand’s novel The Fountainhead, which is taken into account a foundational conservative textual content for the protection of billionaires and financial inequality.

“Our name signifies our admiration for the qualities embodied by Howard Roark,” the agency says on its web site. “We are committed to being a good partner in good times, and an even better partner in bad times.”

Donors from Roark-linked corporations delivered greater than $800,000 of marketing campaign contributions within the 2020 election cycle, principally to Republicans, in line with information compiled by OpenSecrets.

Several state and native retirement programs have invested public workers’ retirement financial savings within the Roark funds involved in Inspire Brands’ takeover of Dunkin’ Brands final yr, together with the Oregon State Treasury, the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System, and the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System.

In its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Roark suggested buyers that “portfolio companies of the type targeted” by the agency may be “adversely affected by changes in governmental policies” together with the minimal wage.

Dunkin's Donuts sign
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 26: A Dunkin’ storefront signal is seen on October 26, 2020 in New York City.
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images/Getty Images

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