Tuesday, January 27, 2015

NLRB: McDonald's Responsible For Franchises' Violations Of Workers' Rights

I missed this in December when it first was announced. This is from Low Pay is Not OK:
On December 19, 2014, just a few weeks after [Low Pay is Not OK's] biggest fast food strike to-date, the National Labor Relations Board made a groundbreaking ruling: McDonald’s can no longer hide behind their franchisees and will be held responsible for violations against the rights of their workers.

The ruling states:
[NLRB's] investigation found that McDonald’s, USA, LLC, through its franchise relationship and its use of tools, resources and technology, engages in sufficient control over its franchisees’ operations, beyond protection of the brand, to make it a putative joint employer with its franchisees, sharing liability for violations of our Act. This finding is further supported by McDonald’s, USA, LLC’s nationwide response to franchise employee activities while participating in fast food worker protests to improve their wages and working conditions.

McDonald’s has long claimed no responsibility for working conditions — placing all the blame for bad practices on the franchisees. But the NLRB made it clear that the McDonald’s corporation is the real boss, and it’s up to them to take responsibility and treat their workers fairly.

Read more about the historic ruling here [at NYT].
Over the years, Stella and I have occasionally driven through the line at a local McDonald's to satisfy our sweet tooth with a McCafe™. We prefer Starbucks's Frappucino™, but the McDonald's product is cheaper and very few Starbucks outlets have a drive‑thru.

Mickey D feels Rosie's muscle
(organizing really works!)
But that has changed over the past year. First, McDonald's appeared to have no intention of negotiating a wage higher than the legal minimum, until LPisNOK began organizing its workers. Then McDonald's workers went on strike for better pay; about 500 workers at many franchises around the country were actually arrested for doing so. (That is the point at which I stopped trading with McDonalds altogether.) Then there was a credible report that a McDonald's in South Boston fired 10 workers because they didn't “fit the profile” of the store; all 10 workers just happened to be Black, and management made statements that can only reasonably be construed as confirming that the workers were fired because of their race. (Follow the link; read the statements for yourself.) McDonald's Corp. declined to make any effort to compel the store to rehire the workers, claiming franchises make those decisions independently. Hence the NLRB case and the ruling that the corporation can't hide behind its franchises in matters of violations of workers' legal rights, such as firing people because of their race.

Stella is not a vocally aggressive labor rights advocate like me, but she does put her money where her heart is, and has a strong sense of fairness. I've noticed she has silently stopped going to McDonalds now. For her as for me, as for the workers, enough is enough.


  1. Replies
    1. Michael, we do what we can, just as you do. We are not big enough Mickey D's customers to change their behavior, but it is good not to reward what they're doing to their employees. Chocolate-plus-coffee drinks can be had elsewhere!



• Click here to view existing comments.
• Or enter your new rhyme or reason
in the new comment box here.
• Or click the first Reply link below an existing
comment or reply and type in the
new reply box provided.
• Scrolling manually up and down the page
is also OK.

Static Pages (About, Quotes, etc.)

No Police Like H•lmes