Friday, December 13, 2019

McDonald's doesn't make hamburgers, and the National Labor Relations Board agrees (for now)

Lately (and in the past) I've been musing a lot on the increasing use of franchising, independent contractors, and other methods to isolate companies from the people who really do the work. To sum it up, McDonald's doesn't make hamburgers, and Uber doesn't transport passengers.

So I read a recent NPR article with interest.

The long and bitter litigation began in 2015, when the Service Employees International Union accused McDonald's and its franchisees of retaliating against hundreds of workers who supported the Fight For $15 labor movement....

The government's labor-law prosecutor at the time asked the judge, Lauren Esposito, to review the complaints and consider McDonald's a "joint employer" of franchisees accused of violating labor laws.

But with a new administration, the instruction was reversed, and the judge was directed to approve a settlement between the workers and the franchisees. The NLRB just upheld this.

Much of this is part of the ongoing war between Trump appointees and Obama appointees, who have different views on labor relations. And one of the issues is whether the people who work in restaurants with the McDonald's name are de facto workers for the huge McDonald's corporation, or are simply working for a franchisee who licenses use of the McDonald's name.
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