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McDonald’s workers rejoice over NLRB ruling

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued an opinion in late July that may have sweeping consequences for workers trying to organize in the fast food and other industries.

As part of the campaign to raise the minimum wage, McDonald’s workers in more than 150 cities have engaged in short strikes and other actions in the past two years.

With coordination by the Service Employees International Union, workers have also filed close to 200 unfair labor practice charges, for violations of law that include wage theft and retaliation for activism.

But against whom those charges were to be pursued is a central question. With 761,000

employees across the US, McDonald’s claimed that labor violations were the responsibility of each individual franchise owner, not the corporation. It’s a classic tactic of trying to wiggle out of responsibility for labor violations.

The NLRB ruled that McDonald’s is a “joint owner” of the franchises. That is, they exercise so much control over operations that they effectively control the franchises.

The implications of the NLRB’s ruling are far-reaching, allowing unions to organize workers within the fast food industry, as well as opening up the possibility of organizing other mega-corporations that claim to be franchises.



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