McDonald's In The Frying Pan

Precedent-setting ruling could change minimum wage lives

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, USA - OCTOBER 20 :  McDonald's Restaurantl on October 20, 2013 in Las Vegas,
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A decision by federal regulators could change the lives of millions of America's lowest-paid workers, and open the way for complaints blaming McDonald's for low pay and poor working conditions in its restaurants.

The ruling by the New York regional office of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) says that the giant McDonald's hamburger chain shares responsibility for workers' wages and working conditions with the operators of its franchise restaurants.

McDonald's can now be named as a "joint employer" in 113 unfair labor practices complaints filed by franchise workers that are currently pending across the nation, according to Micah Wissinger, an attorney for Levy Ratner, the law firm which represents New York City fast-food workers. The designation could give workers more clout in future legal actions seeking higher wages or better working conditions, or protesting firing decisions.

The ruling "leaves no doubt" that franchise workers are employees of McDonald's, saaid Mark Barenberg, a law professor at Columbia Law School. "The determination from the NLRB's General Counsel has the potential to upend the fast-food industry's decades-long strategy of "out-sourcing" legal responsibility to franchisees when it comes to securing workers' rights. Companies like McDonald's insert an intermediary between themselves and workers, even though they're manifestly in control of the franchisees' employment decisions."

The ruling forces McDonald's to take responsibility for the treatment of employees in more than 14,000 restaurants that bear its name. Workers suing for better wages and working conditions can now name the fast-food chain as well as a franchise company in complaints against the company.

The decision also has implications for other hamburger chains like Burger King, and many other fast-food brands like KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, which all are owned by Yum! Brands but operated primarily as franchises.

McDonald's argues that it does not direct hiring, firing, wages or hours of employees at its franchise restaurants.

Richard Eiker, who has worked at a McDonald's in Kansas City for 30 years, says the company constantly monitors its franchises, using tracking software, on-site inspections and visits from "secret shoppers" to monitor every aspect of operations.

A spokeswoman for McDonald's USA told The Associated Press that the company will appeal the decision.

David French, senior vice president with the National Retail Federation, told The New York Times that the decision is "outrageous."

"It is just further evidence that the N.L.R.B. has lost all credibility as a government agency established to protect workers and is now just a government agency that serves as an adjunct for organized labor, which has fought for this decision for a number of years as a means to more easily unionize entire companies and industries," French said.

The issue was brought to the forefront by labor organizers backed by the United Service Employees International Union, which has staged nationwide protests in favor of higher wages and more stable work hours for fast-food employees.

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jtdancernh

"It is just further evidence that the N.L.R.B. has lost all credibility as a government agency established to protect workers"

Nice try. This ruling does a lot more to protect workers than ANYTHING McDonald's has EVER done, if for no other reason than it takes away McDonald's' ability to shift blame away from itself and throw its franchisees under the bus when it comes to the low-wages it pays hard-working Americans.

Keep up the good work, NLRB!

September 16 2014 at 12:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jennaputt

When writing a "quote 'within' a quote," you use one set of quotation marks, not two. You misspelled the word "said," as "saaid." Honestly - who edits your articles? I'm appalled at AOL's continued low quality articles and abundant errors. Even as I type out this comment, internal software is editing my text! Here's a tip: when you see a red, squiggly line under some part of your prose, there's a problem. Red means STOP, review and probably, FIX!

September 04 2014 at 6:33 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Xpresyrslf

FAST FOOS WILL MAKE SMART KIOSK SMARTAUTOMATED CONVEYOR HAMBURGER MACHINES SMARTER COMPUTERS TO REPLACE UNEDUCATED UNSKILLED WORKERS TO REPLACE ANY INCREASED HOURLY WAGES OF ANY KIND IN THE FUTURE.

September 04 2014 at 5:28 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
recluse909

Don't like McD's and Walmart? DON'T GO THERE! They are entry level job's for teen's and part timers. They were never ment to pay high wages to raise a family and buy cell phones.

September 04 2014 at 5:23 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to recluse909's comment
jtdancernh

They were never ment to pay high wages to raise a family and buy cell phones.

And hard-working Americans were never meant to have to raise a family on a fast food job either, but when that's all that's out there, SOMEONE needs to be held accountable, and since coprorate America makes hundreds of billions of dollars on the backs of its workers, the companies that employ those workers can afford to share the wealth so average Americans can have a decent quality of life.

Personally, I would LOVE to see legislation enacted that limits what CEOs and shareholders can earn based on what the lowest-paid workers in ther respective companies earn. That way, the rising tide would indeed lift ALL boats, and not just the yachts of the 1%.

September 16 2014 at 12:56 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Dan Covey

McDonald's made after everything over 1.2 BILLION during the 3rd. quarter. I think they have enough money to p/ay a living wage.

September 04 2014 at 3:42 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
fnr121373

Ok, I heard a rumor that if McDonald's raised all of its menu items by 20 cents the company can BOTH pay $15 an hour to its employees AND still make their billions in profits. My question is if this rumor is true, then why haven't they done this all along?

For those of you saying these people are "lazy" "stupid" "uneducated" and that hey don't want to improve their lives Have no idea what you are talking about.

I myself, worked for them for almost a decade. I won their scholarship ($500) which I paid my last semester of college. I graduated(barely) with a BA in education. No other places would hire me. I was either "overqualified" or "impressive but not what we had in mind". That's healthy for self esteem isn't it?

This might sound like a cop out, but the reason I finally quit was because I had a nervous breakdown. You would think all the hours I worked for them, all I had endured politically(I mean office type not government), all the falls I had from slick floors, the absolute filth I had to clean up from vomit and feces to trash bags dripping on me, and everything in between you would think they would take all of these in consideration. Nope after all was said and done I was just thrown away as if a decade of service meant nothing at all.

I don't blame the fast food workers for wanting decent pay for all they put up with. Is paying the $15 an hour the solution? I don't know but they do deserve at least some respect.

July 30 2014 at 6:41 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to fnr121373's comment
Don Murphy

I doubt that's true in its entirety (I'm sure this message board is full of people who'd insist that it IS true even though they wouldn't have the slightest inkling about even the very beginnings of the math involved), but even if it is then the obvious answer is that they can make just that much more by NOT raising individual wages to anything like $15/hr per worker unless absolutely forced to do so either by formal legislation or market forces. Your assertion that everyone who works at McDonald's is anything but an unmotivated and stupid loser is more than true and it's indeed shameful that so many shallow clods have come on here and mindlessly echoed such sentiments. With that said, while I certainly understand the heartfelt point you were trying to make regarding the organization and its obligations when all is said and done it's naive at best and I'm being polite.

July 30 2014 at 11:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jtdancernh

"My question is if this rumor is true, then why haven't they done this all along?"


I can answer your question in two words: CORPORATE GREED.

September 16 2014 at 12:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
vineman35

Companies like McDonalds, whose business models were based on low wage entry level employees, will now have to restructure, if there is a forced minimum wage increase. Where are our youth going to get entry level employment to learn basic job skills to compete in the world market? They will be the first to feel the impact and a domino effect of lost jobs to follow.

July 30 2014 at 3:46 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to vineman35's comment
jtdancernh

"Where are our youth going to get entry level employment to learn basic job skills to compete in the world market?"

To the same places they've ALWAYS gone. It takes a certain number of employees to run a restuarant, and if you have to pay them more, that doesn't change the fact that you still need the same number of people to run the restaurant; so the jobs will continue to be there, the only difference is that the people getting hired to fill those positions will get a fair wage in exchange for their profit-producing labor.

THAT is the dirty little secret that McDonald's and other companies don't want you to know.

September 16 2014 at 1:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
patiodaddy

This is the latest venture in Government Strong Arming just like the Clintoons did with the Tobacco companies in the 90's. We need to cut Government in half here in America, immediately! Go TEA Party!

July 30 2014 at 3:40 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
oldyopb

Well, Corporate America, and other related dim-wits: You wanted a service economy? You got a service economy. Congratulations.

July 30 2014 at 3:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
flip33732

Fast food stores will just raise prices. This will all be passed on to the consumer anyway so why fight it ?

July 30 2014 at 3:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to flip33732's comment
Dan Covey

If the /public would just quit buying and make their lunches and so on. All of these fast food chains will start to pay a living wage. As t o raising the menu. I would certainly stop if t hat happens.

September 04 2014 at 3:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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