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July 5 Independence Day for NYC's Fast Food Workers-At-Will Employment Ends

Bloomberg Businessweek June 28, 2021 pp57-61 “FIRE RESISTANCE” “Most Americans can be terminated for no reason at any time. But 70,000 fast-food workers are about to gain major protections.” “Who’s next?” By Josh Eidelson

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With few exceptions frontline workers and sub C-Suite managers can be fired “for almost any reason and sometimes for no reason at all.” “Unlike other wealthy countries, where bosses generally have to provide just cause for termination, at-will positions account for most U.S. jobs.” The exceptions are C-Suite executives, those working in the public sector and those working in “the nation’s dwindling unionized workplaces...and [workers in] Montana.” Although it is considered illegal to fire workers for “trying to unionize, or for being black, pregnant, transgender, old, or employment makes those protections difficult to enforce, and penalties don’t stop companies form canning people.”

NYC moves to protect fast-food workers from at-will

Effective Monday July 5th NYC fast-food workers will no longer be working at-will. According to Brad Lander, the council member “who spearheaded the legislation’s passage" going forward “If there’s not a problem, you get to keep working.” Workers will have due process if they “haven’t done anything egregious [they] will be guaranteed a systems of warnings and consistent, proportionate, disciplinary actions before they can be let go. Business owners and restaurant trade associations see shortcomings as they did with the “state’s fast-food minimum wage and other labor protections” but others point out that these prior changes did not create the “dire consequences” that were predicted.

Backers look to expand at-will and worker rights

“47% of Americans said they had at some point been fired for a bad reason or no reason.” “Two-thirds of respondents said they’d support a just-cause policy…” At a national level, given the current congressional make-up, only executive action seems possible, likely aiming at “contractors looking to do business with the U.S. government. Anastasia Christman, a co-author of an analysis by “the Center for American Progress and the National Empowerment Law Project” says changes in “the added job security would pay off in terms of productivity and morale, as well as by increasing the number of whistleblowers who would feel safe to speak up.”


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