Chick-fil-A

I don’t really care much about Chick-fil-A being a vegetarian, but I don’t think Mayor Menino should stop them from coming to Boston. On the other hand, I agree with his statement:

In recent days, you said Chick-fil-A opposes same-sex marriage and said the generation that supports it has an “arrogant attitude.”

Now — incredibly — your company says you are backing out of the same-sex marriage debate. I urge you to back out of your plans to locate in Boston.

You called supporters of gay marriage “prideful.” Here in Boston, to borrow your own words, we are “guilty as charged.” We are indeed full of pride for our support of same sex marriage and our work to expand freedom to all people. We are proud that our state and our city have led the way for the country on equal marriage rights.

I was angry to learn on the heels of your prejudiced statements about your search for a site to locate in Boston. There is no place for discrimination on Boston’s Freedom Trail and no place for your company alongside it. When Massachusetts became the first state in the country to recognize equal marriage rights, I personally stood on City Hall Plaza to greet same sex couples coming here to be married. It would be an insult to them and to our city’s long history of expanding freedom to have a Chick-fil-A across the street from that spot.

and that’s why I was fine with Northeastern University voting against inviting them to Campus:

Less than two weeks after announcing Northeastern was in talks to bring a Chick-fil-A to campus, university administrators announced the Georgia-based fast food chain would not be included in plans to renovate the Curry Student Center food court.

The decision came in response to votes denouncing the plan by both the Student Government Association (SGA) and Graduate Student Government (GSG).

And it’s not just that they’re against same-sex marriage, but that they donate to groups that are anti-gay rights. That’s why this article was so annoying:

Well, yes, Cathy is, to many people, an extremist when it comes to the topic of same-sex marriage. So is his son, Dan Cathy, the current president of the company. They’re against it, as are most people of the evangelical persuasion, and the family has been outspoken and financially supportive of organizations that oppose it.

But that’s just the Cathys.

Chick-fil-A, with 1,600 restaurants in 39 states, does not deny service to gay and lesbian people, nor does it refuse to employ them. Its stated mission is to “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect” and to leave policy debate to the political arena.

Well … (go read the whole article, they also do good)

The parent company asks people who apply for an operator license to disclose marital status, number of dependents and involvement in “community, civic, social, church and/or professional organizations.”

But Danielle Alderson, 30, a Baltimore operator, says some fellow franchisees find that Chick-fil-A butts into its workers’ personal lives a bit much. She says she can’t hire a good manager who, say, moonlights at a strip club because it would irk the company. “We are watched very closely by Chick-fil-A,” she says. “It’s very weird.”

Chick-fil-A, the corporate parent, has been sued at least 12 times since 1988 on charges of employment discrimination, according to records in U.S. District Courts. Aziz Latif, a former Chick-fil-A restaurant manager in Houston, sued the company in 2002 after Latif, a Muslim, says he was fired a day after he didn’t participate in a group prayer to Jesus Christ at a company training program in 2000. The suit was settled on undisclosed terms.

The company might face more suits if it didn’t screen potential hires and operators so carefully. Many Chick-fil-A job candidates must endure a yearlong vetting process that includes dozens of interviews. Ty Yokum, the training manager for the chain, sat through 7 interviews and didn’t get the job. He reapplied in 1991 and was subjected to another 17 interviews–the final one lasted five hours–and was hired. Bureon Ledbetter, Chick-fil-A’s general counsel, says the company works hard to select people like Yokum, who “fit.” “We want operators who support the values here,” Ledbetter says.

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