• authored by news
  • published Sat, Nov 30, 2002

UFCW & McDonalds: If you can't beat 'em...

UFCW and McDonalds: If you can't beat 'em, build 'em?

As service industry employers go, McDonalds Restaurants is a symbol of both the anti-union fervour that is a hallmark among employers in this industry and the failure of unions to make to organize all but a few of its millions of workers. Over the past decade McDonalds has been a lightening rod for criticism by many union leaders who have taken the fast food giant to task for exploitative working conditions and unfair labour practices.

MFD has learned that at least one large North American union has entered into a relationship of sorts with Big Mac and the two appear to be peacefully co-existing in that relationship. An investment company controlled by the Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension Fund (CCWIPP), UFCW Canada's pension plan, is the landlord for a new McDonald's Express location just outside of Vancouver International Airport. The BC Land Assessment Office confirmed that I.F. Propco Holdings (B.C.) Inc. is the landlord for the office and commerical complex located on Russ Baker Way in Richmond BC, where the new Mac's is located. Propco, in fact, had a new small building constructed especially for the McDonalds Restaurant.

The CCWIPP's Propco companies invest money from the pension plan in businesses. MFD has commented at length about issues associated with these investments and recently invited CCWIPP Trustees to join us in MFD forum for a discussion of those issues. The Trustees have yet to respond to the invitation.

UFCW Canada has, on a number of occasions, tried unsuccessfully to organize workers at McDonalds and other fast food restaurants. Is using members' pension money to help an employer like McDonalds set up shop a good thing? How might potential members feel about it? Tell us what you think.

  • posted by weiser
  • Sat, Nov 30, 2002 10:20am

Oh, the McDonads is only one odd aspect regarding that CCWIPP investment. I guess only the CCWIPP Trustees could tell us, but it seems that CCWIPP spent an additional $291 thousand on the property at about the same time the McDonalds was built.

Did CCWIPP actually build the damned McDonalds?

That particular McDonalds has a picture of two old guys in bathing trunks and swimming goggles in the window. I sure hope they aren't making fun of union machine heads holidaying in Florida.

It's also interesting that the shiney new McDonalds is parked on a property that IF Propco (BC) 1 Ltd claims to have sunk $7,296 million into. CCWIPP claims that the property is worth $6,405 million as of 2001. However, those figures don't exactly match those of the BC Assessment Authority.

The land is worth millions, but CCWIPP doesn't own it. The land is owned by the Vancouver Airport Authority. In fact, IF Propco (BC) Ltd only leases the land. What are the buildings worth? I'll tell you later.

I think I'll stop here. I think this stuff deserves its own thread(s)

After all, this thread is questioning how a food union pension plan could jump into a business deal with a notoriously anti-union employer.

Hey, there's plenty of room on the vacant parcel for a Wal-Mart!

  • posted by Blackcat
  • Sat, Nov 30, 2002 5:47pm

What a scam...what happened to their "buy union" slogan. I guess they don't follow it.

Anyone here heard of McDonalds Workers Resistance?

This is one of my favorite parts:



Ten things to do in McDonalds when it's dead

7. Buzz word bingo

This one is reserved for crew meetings, rap sessions, etc. Again everyone gets a bongo card but this time instead of numbers the card contains buzz words! For example: 'opportunities', 'teamwork', 'profitability', 'family', 'customer satisfaction' and other banal corporate bollocks. Again the rules are otherwise like normal bingo, just tick off the words as the meeting leader inevitably utters them. Be sure to make it obvious that you are playing this game as a way of expressing your total contempt for their pointless, sham meetings.

There was also the Global McStrike! More about workers organizing at McDonalds.


  • posted by weiser
  • Sun, Dec 1, 2002 11:10am

The McDonalds caper is just another reason why Union Bosses weren't meant to be Corporate Bosses.

PBAS seems to directly manage some land acquisitions for some I.F. Propcos. I say this because the PBAS office (downstairs from UFCW Canada's office) is the registered office for CCWIPP and some CCWIPP businesses. Other land and real estate investments are managed by others. For example, the McDonalds property is leased to an I.F. Propco, but managed by a Calgary outfit called the 'Landmen'. It seems to be located in the same office a 'Land Securities' an outfit that CCWIPP lists as the manager on its 2001 financials. What's even odder is that Urbanex Realty Corporation is the company that has signs all over the property advertising 'Build to Suit' and 'For Lease'.

Ah, what a tangled web.

From what we can see, CCWIPP operates a needlessly complex investment business. You would think that if CCWIPP could put PBAS offices right across Canada, those same offices could manage some of the investments. What type of advice and services does PBAS and Benchmark Decisions give for $4 million a year?

Sorry, I digressed.

My point is that CCWIPP seems to pay close attention to its real estate holdings, and you'd expect that CCWIPP would have some sort of ethical guidelines which it follows in investing members' money. For example, you'd expect a union to tell its real estate agent, that it does not want to be a landlord to a company with which it represents employees. While such a lease may be used as leverage, in most cases it would be considered a conflict of interest. Let's say the employer says it will close down and put several hundred employees on the street unless it gets phenomenal reductions in its lease rates.

In regard to the McDonalds lease, it isn't like some guy named Joe asked to rent an office and then we find out that Joe was leasing the space for Ronald McDonald. This is a case of where a whole damned building had to be built. It seems like CCWIPP had to release close to $300 thousand to lease the space. I would think that CCWIPP officials would have to have had their eyes wide open when doing the McDonalds lease.

Y'know, it's funny that we don't see Mike Fraser braggin' on the UFCW Canada propaganda site about this wonderful investment that CCWIPP made. Maybe, Doug Dority would like to have his picture taken with Mike and Cliff as they chow down on a Big-Mac, Mc-Fries and Coke, or are they into Mc Happy Meals? They could have the caption, 'Your CCWIPP funds at work making life better for workers.'

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Sun, Dec 1, 2002 12:45pm

Isn't Cliffie Evans a Director in all these Propco companies and a Trustee of the CCWIPP Plan? Didn't the Ontario Federation of Labour just give him an award for outstanding service to the cause? They oughta be ashamed.

What's he doing helping Big Mac make more money - at non-union locations no less.

  • posted by sleK
  • Sun, Dec 1, 2002 7:41pm

Here it be:

Beautiful, isn't it?

Looks like one of those oil change places.

  • posted by weiser
  • Mon, Dec 2, 2002 8:24am

Oh yes it is fine. You'll notice that the sign in front is offering some land that would fit a Wal-Mart. The property to the right would fit a Sams Club just fine.

  • posted by Shadow
  • Mon, Dec 2, 2002 11:36am

At the drive thru:

Customer: I'll have a McPropco Burger, some Deep Fried Funds and a large Shaken Trustee. Oh, and one of those plastic Landmen toys.

Drive thru box: Yes sir. Will that be all sir?

Customer: Yes and could you supersize the Shaken Trustee?

Drive thru box: Yes sir. That will be 15 million dollars sir. First window please.

Customer: 15 million dollars! I haven't got that kind of change!

Drive thru box: Would you like to arrange a loan sir? We can supersize that too. Second window.

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