December 26, 2014
By Neal Tepel
In a win for fast food workers, the National Labor Relations Board, on Friday December 19th, issued complaints alleging labor law violations against McDonald's USA and several of its franchisees. The cases date back to November 2012, when fast food workers in New York City participated in the first strike against the fast food industry.
The National Labor Relations Board issued 13 complaints involving 78 charges in 13 cities against McDonald's USA. The cases, allege that McDonald's and its franchisees "violated the rights of employees working at McDonald's restaurants around the country.
McDonald's USA was named as a "joint employer" which has the national company responsible for any labor issues at their franchise operations.
Micah Wissinger, an attorney at Levy Ratner who brought one of the cases on behalf of New York City McDonald's workers, said "McDonald's and its corporate lobbyists continue to claim that the company has no responsibility for workers at its restaurants, but this complaint underscores the obvious fact that McDonald's is the boss."
If the "allegations cannot be resolved through settlement," the NLRB said the cases will come before an administrative law judge beginning on March 30 in Chicago, Los Angeles and Manhattan. The NLRB complaints validates what workers have been saying over and over again – that McDonald's requires franchisees to adhere to such regimented rules and regulations that there's no doubt who's really in charge.
"It's no surprise that the NLRB's complaint would name McDonald's as a joint employer," Catherine Ruckelshaus, general counsel at the National Employment Law Project, said in a statement. "While lobbyists for the fast-food industry might loudly disagree, their objections don't change the facts: If you work at McDonald's, then you work for McDonald's, and not just the company's franchisees. McDonald's exerts substantial control over its franchised restaurants; it's only right that the company should also be held responsible for the rights of workers at its restaurants."