STATEMENT
For Immediate Release: August 27, 2014
Contact: Maria Myotte, maria [at] rocunited [dot] org, 212.243.6900

Leading Restaurant Worker Advocate Calls Burger King Out for “Corporate Desertion”

The following is a statement from Saru Jayaraman, Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United, co-founder & co-director, on Burger King’s acquisition of Canadian company Tim Horton’s:

Burger King’s acquisition of Canadian-based company, Tim Horton’s, means we, the American public, will be left to offset the cost of their “corporate desertion.” Despite primarily operating in the U.S., Burger King will get to evade US income taxes through an inversion merger in Canada, and avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes.

What’s truly spectacular is that our taxes already subsidize Burger King and every other major restaurant chain out there. Every year, the restaurant industry, one of the largest and the absolute fastest growing economic sectors, provides us with 7 of the 10 absolute lowest paying jobs in the country. Due to lobbying by the National Restaurant Association, the restaurant industry is also the largest benefactor of the tipped minimum wage – it’s been just $2.13 an hour since 1991. The industry’s wages are so low, and benefits so scant, that even with full-time hours or more than one job, workers still qualify for public assistance like SNAP and Medicare. In fact, nearly half of all restaurant workers live in or near poverty.

Yet time and time again, in defense of their deplorable labor standards, these corporations retort that they’re “job creators.” However, here we are with a move that would do nothing to help Burger King’s front-line workers — the real value of any restaurant — make ends meet, further absolves the company from being accountable to the consequences of its poverty wages, while the additional savings from a lower tax rate will undoubtedly line the pockets of its CEO and executive staff.

The fact that Burger King and corporate restaurant chains can get away with practices that are not only detrimental to our communities, unthinkable and impossible for small businesses, but vehemently opposed by workers and consumers, is a testament to their far-reaching and undue influence on our political system.

Find the most comprehensive report to date on the National Restaurant Association “The Other NRA: Unmasking the Agenda of the National Restaurant Association” at:http://rocunited.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/TheOtherNRA_Report_2014.pdf

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Co-founded by labor-rights leader Saru Jayaraman (“One of the top 50 most influential people in the restaurant industry” – Nation’s Restaurant News) ROC United has grown to over 13,000 members across 26 cities in the US, winning 15 worker-led campaigns, totaling $8 million in stolen tips and wages.