The National Labor Relations Board is putting more and more pressure on McDonald’s and declared on Tuesday that the hamburger chain could face serious charges as it is a joint employer in more than one worker rights complaints. If the decision doesn’t go McDonald’s way, it could just be that the franchise will become liable for management practices.
Additionally, protests the country over have captured the public’s eye as labor groups are not just callinf for pay of $15 an hour but also for the right to unionize.
Currently in the U.S., the 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants are owned by separate franchisees. Other fast food chains have followed in McDonald’s footsteps and are also operating their restaurants through franchises: Burger King, Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut are just some of the examples. If protest organizers manage to get McDonald’s named as a joint employer in all these complaints, they will have a powerful and centralized target. None of the companies could distance themselves then from pay protests by claiming that wages are determined by each separate franchise.
McDonald’s Senior HR Vice President, Heather Smedstad insisted that McDonald’s had never been determined as a joined employer before and that it would fight such a decision by the labor board.
Labor organizers, on the other hand, believe that McDonald’s should be held accountable as it has everything that happens in these so called franchised locations under control: menus, uniforms, how the restaurants are run, all except wages.
Several lawsuits on behalf of McDonald’s workers were filed in three separate states and detailed the way that company software is used to monitor the ratio of labor costs as sales percentages. If that ratio would cross a certain limit, workers would no longer be allowed to clock in.
Other McDonald’s workers explained how the company would send representatives to overlook activities, and how these representatives would even stand at the drive through and check how quickly customers would go through.
Since 2012, there have been 182 cases filed that involve McDonald’s. Out of those, 43 cases were found to have merit and in those cases, the board said that McDonald’s or its franchises would only then be named as respondents if a settlement is not reached.
Currently, there is a lawsuit that has been filed in Seattle challenging whether franchises are large employers. If they are found to be large employers, they would be subjected to the new $15 minimum wage rule earlier than smaller businesses. a