McDonald’s fast food stores are clamping down on trade union activists. That’s the implication of a social media policy document seen by Socialist Worker.
The document, which provides a set of guidelines for McDonald’s workers to follow, states, “This policy is applicable when an employee uses social media for either business or personal use and the McDonald’s brand is specifically referred to or where the employee identifies him/herself as an employee of McDonald’s.”
This effectively means that workers could face disciplinary procedures if they say to a colleague, “I’m a worker at McDonald’s and I think we should start a political campaign to recruit people to the union.”
The policy also gives managers the ability to discipline workers for posting political content before or after work related posts. It is ambiguous and leaves the door open to abuse.
A McDonald’s spokesperson told Socialist Worker, “Individuals that work for McDonald’s are at liberty to join a union, hold and express political beliefs. However, in doing so, our policy (and that of many other companies) is that the views expressed are presented as the individuals and not those of the business. Therefore, it is irrelevant whether a trade union is classified as a political organisation or not.”
In order to recruit other workers to the union, trade union activists in McDonald’s need to identify as working for the company when talking to potential recruits. The company’s policy stops them from doing this.
This flies in the face of the firm’s trade union policy, which states that “Employees are free to join a union if they wish, in accordance with UK and EU employment regulations which McDonald’s follows strictly.”
According to one Bfawu member working at McDonald’s, “Their policy has created an environment where the union is not able to help anyone because one of the ways we help people is talking to them over social media. I can’t share Bfawu’s statement about this on social media because I’ll be fired.
“Because we’re not recognised by McDonald’s our reps can’t represent people or openly recruit to the union.”
McDonald’s appears to be purposefully standing in the way of trade union organising. It needs to rethink its social media policy. As it stands, It is a block for workers to organise into trade unions.