Traverse City Record-Eagle


June 7, 2014

Fact Check: Is Burger King quitting base outlets?

A reader recently forwarded us an email that bore some bad news for military families. “The Burger King national headquarters,” the email said, “announced this month that they will be pulling their franchises from our military bases.”

The email continued, “Soon to follow will be Popeye’s chicken, pizza franchises and the chain of barber and beauty shops which operates inside the gates of our military facilities. Reason? Obama’s mandate that all companies who do business with the federal Government pay a $10.10 per hour minimum wage. Alas, as with all things Obama, every time he does something to please his socialist friends, someone suffers. In this case it will be our military.”

When we looked into it, we found that the email — despite some over-the-top anti-Obama rhetoric — was referencing a real issue. However, its most eye-catching claim — that Burger King had announced it will be pulling its outlets from military bases — was flat wrong.

Let’s start with some background.

Various fast-food restaurants operate at military bases in the United States and all over the world. The concerns raised in the email, which had been publicized by Republican lawmakers this spring, stem from two actions taken by the Obama administration that could affect how fast-food workers are compensated on some military bases.

The first change is a 2013 determination by the Labor Department — subsequently put on hold — that fast food workers under federal contracts were due a $3.81-an-hour bump in compensation, something they had not qualified for previously.

The second is a February 2014 executive order by Obama that mandated a $10.10 minimum wage for workers on federal contracts. Obama issued the order — which doesn’t require congressional approval — as a partial step after seeing his proposal for a $10.10 national minimum wage blocked in Congress.

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