NLRB Rules McDonald’s Can’t Hide Behind Franchises That Exploit Workers

McDonald’s and other fast food workers have been protesting for living wages all around the world. A recent ruling by the National Labor Relations Board holds McDonald’s jointly responsible for working conditions at its franchises.

McDonald’s can be held jointly responsible for labor and wage violations at its thousands of franchises around the U.S., the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled this week.

For years, workers at McDonald’s and other fast food chains have been protesting low wages and seeking the right to form a union without retaliation. Fast food workers are among the lowest paid employees in the U.S., making an average of $8.81 an hour.

McDonald’s has long held that they are not responsible for wages at its franchises, which make up roughly 90 percent of its U.S. locations. The NLRB’s decision that McDonald’s is a “joint employer” of these workers could give fast food employees a better chance of raising wages and organizing in a union.

“McDonald’s can try to hide behind its franchisees, but today’s determination by the NLRB shows there’s no two ways about it: The Golden Arches is an employer, plain and simple,” Micah Wissinger, a lawyer who filed complaints on behalf of several McDonald’s employees, told the New York Times. “The reality is that McDonald’s requires franchisees to adhere to such regimented rules and regulations that there’s no doubt who’s really in charge.”

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