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The following article appeared in Left Business Observer #91, August 1999. It retains its copyright and may not be reprinted or redistributed in any form - print, electronic, facsimile, anything - without the permission of LBO.
|The Burger International revisited||by Liza Featherstone|
|Liza Featherstone is a freelance writer; she wrote "The Burger International" in LBO #86.|
Last November, LBO reported that a group of mostly-teenage McDonald's workers in Squamish, British Columbia, had voted to join the Canadian Auto Workers, despite barely legal union-busting tactics as recognizably McDonald's as the Golden Arches. Throughout contract negotiations this year, McDonald's lawyers have challenged the CAW on every legal technicality they could invent -- including the legality of a strike vote and a bizarre interpretation of Canadian child labor laws. Says CAW organizer Roger Crowther, "They won nothing but that's not the object of the game. The point is to wear down the union."
And wear it down they did. Having stalled negotiations for months, McDonald's began a decertification campaign in June. On July 2 -- by which point less than half of the original shop members were still working there -- a majority of employees voted to disband the union. It was the closest any Canadian McDonald's workers have come to a collective agreement -- there have been a few attempts in both Canada and