Most of the Fast Food Forward sponsors and supporters are appropriate, given the movement’s goals. These include small groups of the workers themselves, though these are hardly official unions, local clergy and local community leaders. Unfortunately, for both the workers who want and say they need higher wages and most of their supporters, the size of the protests that have spread across most of America’s largest cities have been too small to make much difference. These protests get one day of press coverage and then disappear. The heads of the fast-food chains can afford to ignore “strikes” that only include a few hundred people and rarely last for more than a few hours.
Part of the argument that fast-food workers make is that senior management of the largest companies in the industry are extremely well paid. The response of the same executives is that their companies will operate with much lower margins if wages rise sharply. This would alienate shareholders, and management is, after all, beholden to shareholders above all else. Once the issue of top executive pay is taken off the table, the reasons for the protests lose much of their power. Mary Kay Henry’s salary undercuts the argument that only huge corporations pay their top executives lavishly. Henry makes about 20 times what a person making $7.25 an hour does.
The Fast Food Forward movement already has lost much of its momentum. The protests have come and gone in most big cities. Fast Food Forward apparently does not have any other tactics, beyond moral appeal. With a highly paid union leader at its head, even that moral appeal is limited.