retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times reports that eight restaurant chains - Applebee’s, Church’s Chicken, Five Guys, IHOP, Jamba Juice, Little Caesars, Panera Bread and Sonic - all have agreed to end a “no poaching” policy that prevented them and their franchisees from hiring employees from each other, or even from other restaurants within the same chain.

The agreement to end the policy came as part of a deal with the Washington State Attorney General, and will be applied to the companies’ nationwide operations. Seven other fast food chains - including Arby’s, Carl’s Jr. and McDonald’s - agreed to end their “no poaching” policies earlier this year.

The Times writes, “Such restrictions are not unique to the restaurant industry, but until recently they were ubiquitous, particularly among fast-food chains. That began to change last year, after two prominent economists at Princeton produced a report that focused on how no-poach clauses could lock workers into low-wage jobs.”
KC's View:
I see stories like this one, about policies clearly aimed at inhibiting the ability of low-level employees to make more money under better conditions, and I think of a song called “Sixteen Tons,” which has a lyric that goes like this…

You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store.