Joe Biden Goes Woke: ‘We Should Unionize McDonald’s’

Protesters in front of a McDonald's in South L.A. where fast-food workers and their supporters gathered to protest wage theft in April 2014. Many fast-food restaurants like McDonald's say they have no control over hiring and firing decisions in franchises, making it difficult for unions to organize workers across a …
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Former Vice President Joe Biden pledged his support to unionize the fast food giant McDonald’s on Thursday, claiming it was a vital step to correct power imbalances in the American economy.

Biden, who often touts himself as a “union man” on the campaign trail, made the promise while speaking at a rally organized by the progressive organization Fight for 15 in Los Angeles, California. During his remarks, which came only hours before the Democrat presidential primary debate, the former vice president channeled his more progressive rivals when stating that fight for $15-an-hour was about more than economics.

“It’s not just the numbers, and by the way there’s been a war on fast food workers for a long, long time,” the former vice president said, before lambasting companies like Chuck E. Cheese that require their workers to sign non-compete agreements.

“It’s all about depressing the wages for working people,” Biden said. “Folks, look we’re in a situation now where we find ourselves in a position, where you are the victims of power, a significant amount of power.”

The former vice president argued that power imbalance would not be rectified by simply raising the wage to “$15 at minimum,” but by improving the “dignity of workers.”

“There is only one way you can fight back power,” he said. “That is with more power, and that’s union power… we should unionize McDonald’s.”

Biden added that if he was elected president in 2020, there would “never” be “a better friend in the White House for working people and for unions.”

The former vice president is not the only 2020 Democrat to express support for unionizing the fast food giant. Progressive firebrands like Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have advocated for collective bargaining rights for McDonald’s employees since at least 2018.

On Thursday, Biden even echoed some of the same language about “power” imbalances that Warren used earlier this year when unveiling a wide reaching proposal to grant fast food workers the ability to unionize.

“We cannot have a truly democratic society with so little power in the hands of working people,” Warren said in October. “We cannot have sustained and inclusive economic growth without a stronger labor movement.”

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