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Posts Tagged ‘protests’

GOOD NEWS: It’s Hard Out There for a Protestor…So Feed Them

ICYMI: A few people have taken up protesting civil servants and the U.S. government because human rights are a thing.

From Los Angeles to Ferguson, Mo., to NYC, activists are taking up arms and exercising their First Amendment rights to say what is vexing them about the justice system. While you may or may not applaud them, a couple of people figured they are working up an appetite.

Enter into the fray John Legend and Chrissy Teigen.

These are two people very much in the public eye who tried to do something privately because it just seemed like the right thing to do — they hired food trucks for a free lunch (and most likely, a pat on the back).

No hashtag. No t-shirt. No TV cameras. Just will work for food. Nicely done.

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It Just Got Real: Fast Food Workers Protest In the South

fatfoodglobalThe fast-food industry was warned about today’s global protest, so they should have been ready for it… it was pretty big.

Workers in 150 American cities participated in today’s strike, with newcomers like Philadelphia and Miami joining the movement for a $15 per hour wage and the formation of a union. In addition, protests took place in countries as diverse as Germany and Malawi. In all, 33 countries took part.

But perhaps most surprising were the protests that took place in the American South.

“Walkouts took place in every region of the country, including the South, where labor organizing is notoriously difficult,” says MSNBC. Colorlines also notes the importance of this development.

“In what may be Opelika’s [in Alabama] first labor protest ever and the latest so far, in piecemeal worker grumblings in right-to-work states that are anti-union and proud, local McDonald’s and Burger King employees are joining today’s #FastFoodGlobal strikes.” Far fewer people walked out in the South than in other places. But the fact that it happened is significant.

The labor market has changed over the past few years and as a result, it looks like the fast food industry will have to change as well.

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Rio de Janeiro Has the Strangest Protest Ever: the Toilet Sit-in

rio toilet sit-in

Because some pictures don’t need cutlines.

All due respect to the great Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto of 60s jazz fame, but when I think of “A Girl from Ipanema,” I’m afraid I will see beach bums dropping a deuce the next time I close my eyes and hum a snappy tune.

Why? This picture is the noted Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro. And that’s a bunch of people dropping trow and sitting on toilets. It’s not some new tanning fad. Rather, it’s a protest. Apparently, Rio has an untreated water sewage issue and the city works are allegedly dumping said waste into the sea.

The group Meu Rio (My Rio) considered with the World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics en route, it would be a great time to protest. I guess.

Well, Meu Rio, you’re number one…or number two. Go Rio!

Fracking Debate Hits Close to Home for British PR Firm

Here’s something you don’t see every day. Protesters opposed to the process of “fracking”, or extracting natural gas and oil from shale via hydraulic water-powered fracturing, super-glued themselves to the walls of British firm Bell Pottinger‘s office while calling them “fracking liars.”

These activists believe that the British government should invest in renewable resources rather than expanding upon its fracking practices, and they’ve targeted the large, privately owned energy company Cuadrilla as a recipient of prime minister David Cameron‘s largesse. In addition to the aforementioned appearance at Bell Pottinger, protestors also chained themselves together to block entrance to the company’s rural production center.

Lord Browne (his real name), former BP chief and current head of Cuadrilla, defended his company’s practices to reporters at The Sunday Telegraph by insisting that fracking is “in the UK’s interest” when performed safely.

Something tells us the protesters weren’t listening.

PR Challenge: Fast Food Workers Stage Mass Walk-Offs

Burger King Protest New York CityThe fast food industry can’t seem to catch a break these days.

Just kidding, those chains make billions of dollars a year—and most have seen their profits increase during the recession. But their employees are another story: they keep trying to unionize! What’s that all about?

Thursday saw a successful blunt-force trauma PR campaign waged by New York City fast food employees with the backing of churches, civil rights groups and labor unions–all united under the Fast Food Forward banner and the “can’t survive on $7.25″ tagline. The first group of workers walked off the job at a Manhattan McDonald’s at 6:30 in the morning, when supporters gathered with signs demanding higher pay and better benefits. More followed suit throughout the day.

The struggle to unionize has a long history in nearly every industry, but yesterday apparently marked the first time that so many have left work en masse at dozens of different restaurants in a coordinated effort to pressure employers.

Some basic facts: The average New York City fast food employee makes approximately $7.25/hour, earning only $11,000 per year. This total obviously doesn’t amount to a living wage in a city like New York—and organization is particularly challenging in an industry with such a high turnover rate. Some also claim that their employers do not offer sufficient sick days or health care benefits. Their collective demands include hourly wages in the range of $15, which would be a substantial increase.

From a distance, this looks like a textbook case of terrible PR.

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Walmart Employees Plan ‘A Thousand’ Holiday Protests

Walmart Storefront

Walmart‘s holiday season PR troubles now look to extend beyond a consumer backlash against the big-box retailers who’ve decided to begin their Black Friday sales at 8 PM on Thanksgiving day.

Last week saw more than one case of employees walking off the job in groups, and now an advocacy group called Making Change at Walmart–which operates with the support of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union– claims that this week will bring a series of protests by Walmart employees around the country. Organizers announced their plans to journalists on a conference call, predicting “a thousand store protests” from LA to DC.

Of course, the employees’ case doesn’t center on Walmart’s decision to open on Thursday evening–though some do claim that management told them about the updated Thanksgiving schedule “on short notice” and gave them no choice as to whether they wanted to work that day or not. Their primary concerns include low wages, increasing health care premiums and “alleged retaliation from management” in order to punish employees for lodging complaints and attempting to organize.

A Walmart spokesman called the planned protests “another exaggerated publicity campaign” and claimed that the employees are just looking to generate headlines, so it doesn’t look like company executives have any interest in negotiation.

We have little doubt that Walmart will succeed in its ongoing attempts to prevent employees from unionizing. But how can the company counter such a large and well-organized movement? If these protests go down as promised, we have a feeling the Walmart team will end up making a whole lot of sterile and ultimately ineffective public statements that will do nothing to satisfy the protesters.

Will these events eventually do significant damage to the business?