Newcastle University Business School

Event Item

Building International Union Campaigns: McDonald’s and the ‘Fight for 15’

Date/Time: Wednesday 18 October, 15:30 - 18:00

Venue: Room 4.23, Newcastle University Business School

Speaker: Tony Royale, York University

The ‘Fight for 15’ campaign first hit the headlines in New York in November 2012, its main aim was to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour and the right to trade union representation. Five years on it is still going on and has since become the biggest effort ever made to unionize fast-food and other low-wage workers in the United States, it is seen by some as akin to the US civil rights movement and can be seen as a symbol of opposition and resistance to the growing level of income inequality and job insecurity in the developed industrialized countries. In 2014 the Fight for 15 went ‘international’ focusing particularly on the McDonald’s Corporation. Since then many other unions, workers and NGOs from different countries have become involved in the campaign (and in a variety of ways). The paper examines the development of the campaign and its outcomes to date and the challenges associated with building international coalitions and organizing workers in the international fast-food industry.

About the speaker


Tony Royle is a Chair of Human Resource Management and Professor of International and Comparative Employment Relations at the University of York. Tony previously held posts at the University of Bradford, the National University of Ireland Galway; and the Nottingham Business School. He is the author of Working for McDonald’s in Europe and has published widely in the area of international and comparative employment relations in low paid service sectors and is the world’s leading authority on employment relations in the international fast-food industry. He has acted as advisor for the European Parliament and European Commission and ECOSOC (the Economic and Social Committee) of the European Union, the International Labour Organization and various international and national trade union organisations such as the IUF; EFFAT (respectively the International and European trade union organisations for workers in hospitality and agriculture); the SEIU (American Service Employees International Union) and the Japanese Trade Union Confederation RENGO. His work is used as a resource for teaching in many universities around the world and has been published in several languages.