Labor Union

SEIU National Fast Food Workers Union (NFFWU)

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

82-2772556

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(5)

Formerly:

Fast Food Workers Committee (FFWC)

Also see Fast Food Workers Committee (Labor Union)

The National Fast Food Workers’ Union (NFFWU) was established by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) shortly to supersede the Fast Food Workers Committee as the lead organizing entity for the unionization arm of the national union’s “Fight for $15” campaign. The National Fast Food Workers’ Union is the latest in a series of organizations created for the purpose of the unionization of franchise restaurant workers.

The SEIU significantly financed the National Fast Food Workers’ Union with millions of dollars of investments. [1] The NFFWU reported having zero members to the Department of Labor in 2018. [2]

Funding

According to National Fast Food Workers’ Union 2018 annual report with the U.S. Department of Labor, the Service Employees International Union provided 87.1 percent of NFFWU’s revenue—over $6.1 million—in “direct support” and “strike support.” [3]

The organization reported no members and no revenue from dues, agency fees, or other fees in 2018. [4]

Purpose

SEIU and the National Fast Food Workers Union seek to unionize the fast food industry to significantly increase union revenues by gaining millions more union members. [5] The “Fight for $15” campaign from which NFFWU sprung has pressured the government to override the distinction between independent franchises owned by entrepreneurs and the national branding companies; eliminating the legal distinction would ease a nationwide “card-check” unionization campaign under which workers could be driven into the SEIU without a secret ballot. [6]

Controversies

Leadership Workplace Misconduct

Prior to the formal creation of the National Fast Food Workers Union in SEIU, the Fight for $15 was organized through a series of “worker organizing committees”—proto-labor unions created to comply with Labor Department regulations concerning union organizing. [7] Kendell Fells, a longtime SEIU employee, headed the largest, the Fast Food Workers Committee based in New York. [8] Fells would become the founding president leading NFFWU. [9]

Fells abruptly resigned his employment at SEIU and his leadership positions in NFFWU and the affiliated Fight for $15 campaign in November 2017. [10] Bloomberg News reported that Melissa Byrne, a former SEIU employee who later worked for Bernie Sanders’s 2016 Presidential campaign, had raised concerns about Fells’s conduct as early as 2011. [11]

Astroturfing

NFFWU reported zero members to the Department of Labor in 2018; critics have characterized it and its predecessor groups in the SEIU’s “Fight for $15” campaign as professionally organized “Astroturf” rather than grassroots activism. [12] Fells had said that the SEIU’s process includes placing 150 protesters in front of a fast food retail outlet to shut the business down for days until they relent. [13]

Fells made misleading comments to a conservative “tracker” at one Fight for $15 rally, initially denying being a paid activist during a “March on McDonald’s” event. Fells claimed he was merely a supporter until the conservative tracker got him to admit his position in Fight for $15. Federal records indicate that SEIU had paid him $146,000 that same year for work as a deputy organizing director. [14]

References

  1. Service Employees International Union, Annual Report of a Labor Organization (Form LM-2), 2018, Schedule 15 https://www.mackinac.org/media/images/2019/SEIU_LM2_2018.pdf. ^
  2. SEIU National Fast Food Workers Union (Department of Labor file number 545-670), Annual Report of a Labor Organization (Form LM-2), 2018, Item 20 ^
  3. SEIU National Fast Food Workers Union (Department of Labor file number 545-670), Annual Report of a Labor Organization (Form LM-2), 2018, Schedule 14 and Statement B ^
  4. SEIU National Fast Food Workers Union (Department of Labor file number 545-670), Annual Report of a Labor Organization (Form LM-2), 2018, Item 20 and Statement B ^
  5. Higgins, Sean, Osorio, and Ap. “SEIU Slashes Funding for $15 Minimum Wage Movement.” Washington Examiner, April 3, 2018. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/economy/seiu-slashes-funding-for-15-minimum-wage-movement. ^
  6. LaborUnionReport. “SEIU Picks NYC To Launch 3-Year Old Planned Attack To Unionize Nation’s Fast-Food Industry.” RedState, November 30, 2012. https://www.redstate.com/laborunionreport/2012/11/30/seiu-picks-nyc-to-launch-3-year-old-planned-attack-to-unionize-nations-fast-food-industry/. ^
  7. Center for Union Facts. “Astroturfing a Worker Center 101.” LaborPains.org, November 13, 2013. https://laborpains.org/2013/11/13/astroturfing-a-worker-center-101/. ^
  8. Fast Food Workers Committee, Annual Report of a Labor Organization (Form LM-2), 2017, Schedule 11 ^
  9. SEIU National Fast Food Workers Union (Department of Labor file number 545-670), Annual Report of a Labor Organization (Form LM-2), 2017, Schedule 11 ^
  10. Griswold, Alex. “Two More SEIU Leaders Ousted for Sexual Harassment Allegations.” Washington Free Beacon, November 2, 2017. https://freebeacon.com/issues/two-more-seiu-leaders-ousted-sexual-harassment-allegations/. ^
  11. Eidelson, Josh. “U.S. Labor Leaders Confront Sexual Harassment in Top Ranks.” Portside, November 7, 2017. https://portside.org/2017-11-07/us-labor-leaders-confront-sexual-harassment-top-ranks. ^
  12. Center for Union Facts. “SEIU’s Astroturf Industry Grows.” LaborPains.org, April 15, 2015. https://laborpains.org/2015/04/15/seius-astroturf-industry-grows/. ^
  13. Hasson, Peter. “’Fight For $15′ Leader Claims He’s Not Paid To Protest – Actually Paid Six Figures By Labor Union.” The Daily Caller. The Daily Caller, May 25, 2017. https://dailycaller.com/2017/05/25/fight-for-15-leader-claims-hes-not-paid-to-protest-actually-paid-six-figures-by-labor-union/. ^
  14. Hasson, Peter. “’Fight For $15′ Leader Claims He’s Not Paid To Protest – Actually Paid Six Figures By Labor Union.” The Daily Caller. The Daily Caller, May 25, 2017. https://dailycaller.com/2017/05/25/fight-for-15-leader-claims-hes-not-paid-to-protest-actually-paid-six-figures-by-labor-union/. ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: November 1, 1943

  • Available Filings

    No filings available.

    SEIU National Fast Food Workers Union (NFFWU)

    1800 MASSACHUSETTS AVE NW
    WASHINGTON, DC 20036-1806