Earlier this month, I wrote about the National Labor Relations Board’s impending decision on whether or not to treat McDonald’s as a joint employer in unfair labor practices complaints against franchisees. Today, according to the New York Times, the NLRB’s general counsel ruled
that McDonald’s is the joint employer for workers at its franchisees’ restaurants, a decision that if upheld would disrupt longtime practices in the fast-food industry and ease the way for unionizing nationwide. . . .
As fast-food workers and labor advocates have been pressuring McDonald’s and other restaurant chains to adopt a $15 wage floor, the companies have often said that they don’t set employee wages, the franchise owners do. That defense would be weakened considerably by the workers’ push to have them declared joint employers. . . .
If upheld, the general counsel’s move would give the fast-food workers and the main labor group backing them, the Service Employees International Union, more leverage in their effort to unionize McDonald’s restaurants and to increase hourly wages.
The Wall Street Journal quotes a McDonald’s memo to its franchisees:
We believe there is no legal or factual basis for such a finding, and we will vigorously argue our case at the administrative trials and subsequent appeal processes which are likely to follow from the issuance of the complaints.