Labor group that protests restaurants won’t let its own workers protest

Robby Soave Reporter
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Critics are accusing an activist labor union of rank hypocrisy after it was revealed that the group — which organizes workers’ protests of fast food establishments — forces its own employees to sign contracts prohibiting them from protesting.

The Restaurant Opportunities Center has 13,000 members and nearly a dozen affiliates across the country, according to Florida It organizes protests against restaurants that it believes have violated fair labor practices. It even encourages activists to pester restaurant customers by placing giant inflatable cockroaches outside the doors to the establishments. (RELATED: House questions Labor Department support of pesky activist group)

It contractually prohibits its own employees from protesting, however.

Workers may not strike, picket or interfere with the organization’s operation in any way — even though that these are exactly the kind of tactics that the group believes empowered workers should use to fight for their rights.

It’s even written into their collective-bargaining agreement:

“It is mutually agreed that there shall be no strikes, lock-outs, sit downs, Sit ins, slowdowns, Sympathy Strikes,­ picketing, stoppage or interruption of Work, or direct or indirect interference or interruption of the operations of Employer during the term of this Agreement. The Guild shall use every reasonable effort to prevent the above actions by any of its employees employed by the Employer.”

The contract was ratified in January of 2013, and will last for two years.

The broad language of the contract would prohibited employees from mounting even small challenges to the organization, if they ever had cause to disagree with it.

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