Wyatt Employment Law Report

Leave a comment

McDonald’s Loses Another Round at the NLRB

By George J. Miller

McDonald'sWebsiteOn March 17th, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued another decision unfavorable to McDonald’s USA and certain McDonald’s franchisees. This was the Board’s fifth decision in this massive case, in which the unions and the Board’s General Counsel are trying to prove that McDonald’s and its franchisees are a joint employer of the franchisees’ employees, and McDonald’s is therefore responsible for any unfair labor practices of its franchisees. In the latest development, a two member majority of a three member NLRB panel agreed with an administrative law judge’s decision to severely limit the scope of documents which McDonald’s could subpoena from the unions and other non-party organizations which had assisted the unions in their efforts against McDonald’s.

The labor unions, which are the charging parties, are the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Fast Food Workers Committee, Pennsylvania Workers Organizing Committee (a project of the Fast Food Workers Committee), Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago, Los Angeles Organizing Committee, and Western Workers Organizing Committee.

The non-party organizations which received McDonald’s subpoenas are: Mintz Group, LLC, and LR Hodges & Associates, Ltd., both private investigative firms hired by the SEIU’s law firm; Berlin Rosen, Ltd., a firm specializing in public affairs and strategic communications; and New York Communities for Change, Inc., a nonprofit advocacy organization which Continue reading

Leave a comment

NLRB Rejects McDonald’s Procedural Motions

By George J. Miller

Earlier this month, the National Labor Relations Board issued two decisions rejecting procedural motions filed by McDonald’s, USA in the pending unfair labor practice cases filed against it and certain McDonald’s franchisees.  As background, in December 2014 the NLRB’s General Counsel issued 13 complaints involving 78 unfair labor practice charges filed against McDonald’s and its franchisees in 13 NLRB regional offices across the country.  The complaints allege various kinds of unfair labor practices against employees seeking to organize unions at McDonald’s restaurants (e.g., discrimination, discharges, surveillance, interrogation, threats).  Significantly, as has been well publicized, in addition to the substantive unfair labor practice allegations, the General Counsel is alleging that McDonald’s and its franchisees are a single employer and that, therefore, McDonald’s is jointly liable for any unfair labor practices committed by its franchisees.

Complaints from six NLRB regions (New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Indianapolis, San Francisco and Los Angeles) were consolidated for a trial that started in March 2015 in New York, then was scheduled to move to Chicago and finish in Los Angeles.  An NLRB Administrative Law Judge was assigned to preside over the case and hear the evidence.  In March 2015, over McDonald’s objection, the judge issued a pre-trial order ruling that Continue reading

Leave a comment

NLRB Asserts McDonald’s Is a “Joint Employer” of Employees of Its Franchisees

By Amanda Warford Edge

The NLRB’s general counsel announced on December 19, 2014 that he will proceed with thirteen (13) cases involving seventy-eight (78) charges against McDonald’s USA, LLC and its franchisees.  The alleged violations took place against McDonald’s workers in several cities throughout the country, including: Detroit, St. Louis, Manhattan, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco, Minneapolis and Indianapolis.  McDonald’s and its franchisees allegedly retaliated illegally against employees who participated in union-related activities by reducing their hours, terminating them and/or subjecting them to other disciplinary actions.

By filing the cases against McDonald’s and its franchisees, the general counsel is asserting that McDonald’s can be liable as a “joint employer,” despite the fact that many of the alleged labor violations were committed by independent franchise owners.  This has sweeping industry implications, striking at the very heart of the franchise system.  Unions, of course, see the cases as a win, claiming that Continue reading