The SEIU's Multi-Billion Dollar Happy Meal

The nation’s largest astroturf campaign may net the SEIU billions in dues.


Last week, as it has in the past, the Service Employees International Union conducted another round of protests aimed at unionizing fast-food workers.
While last week’s protests were smaller, this time, the union turned its focus exclusively on McDonalds rather than other fast-food chains.

For April 14, organizers say they’re focusing on McDonald’s because of its size and ability to influence pay practices throughout the economy.
“When McDonald’s starts to behave the right way, other companies are going to behave the right way,” said Kendall Fells, organizing director for the Fight for $15.

While the union is estimated to have spent more than $80 million of its members’ dues money on its multi-year quest to unionize the fast-food industry, the potential payoff to the SEIU is huge.
According to Diana Furchtgott-Roth, if the SEIU succeeds in unionizing merely 50% of the McDonald’s in the U.S., the union would rake in $100 million every year.

The SEIU wants to organize McDonald’s because of the high rate of turnover in the fast-food industry. With turnover at McDonald’s around 157% annually, then in one year a restaurant turns over its entire staff more than once. That means more initiation fees from new union members, about $50 per person, as well as more dues. Unions stand to gain about $100 million each year from unionizing half of McDonald’s workforce.

While the union stands to rake in tens of millions each year if McDonald’s is unionized, as was noted last year, the potential payoff for unionizing even one third of the entire fast-food industry is billions.

If the SEIU’s efforts pay off and the union succeeds in unionizing even one third (1,217,723) of the nation’s fast-food workers, the SEIU stands to rake in up to $34,336,521 per month.
That’s $412,038,252 every year in dues alone–or over $1.2 billion over the course of a three-year contract.

With the SEIU having spent millions in funding protests since 2012, for the union, the multi-billion dollar payout makes it worth spending millions of its members money.

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