Fight for 15 rejects deal between top Trump NLRB official, McDonalds

NEW YORKFight For $15 And A Union, the labor-backed drive to empower low-wage workers nationwide, rejected a deal between the Trump-named National Labor Relations Board and McDonalds on April 5. The settlement would have given harmed workers back pay but would also shunt aside the major issue in the case, the joint responsibility of corporate headquarters and their local franchise-holders for obeying or breaking labor law.


The massive fast food firm and NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb its top enforce-ment officer -- presented their closed-door agreement to NLRB Administrative Law Judge Lauren Esposito in New York. But it needed Fight For 15s OK to go ahead. There, Fight For 15s lawyer, Micah Wissinger, bounced it.



So did Service Employees President Mary Kay Henry, whose union is the top backer of Fight For 15.


We cant let them (corporations) get away with off-loading employees to their franchisees, Henry told a National Consumers League-sponsored conference on wage and hour law the week before the New York hearing. At this moment, McDonalds is trying to get away with it through negotiating with Trumps NLRB General Counsel.


The deal was improper because it did not hold McDonalds responsible for unlawful retaliation against workers who took part in nationwide protests calling for higher wages at the fast food firm, Wissingers firm, Levy Ratner, said in a statement.


The deal, or lack of it, is important, because of the wide impact of the key issue involved: Whether a corporate headquarters is equally responsible with its local franchises for obeying or breaking labor law.


As long as franchise holders could be separated from headquarters in occupations with millions of workers hotel chains, fast food restaurants, drug stores and more the workers could boomerang from pillar (headquarters) to post (the local owner) in trying to win their union rights, bargain or get back pay. The McDonalds case aimed to end that back-and-forth.


Beginning in 2012, Fight For 15 has been arguing for, and pushing cases about, holding both headquarters and franchise-holders jointly responsible. When Democrats held an NLRB majority, former General Counsel Richard Griffin favored that position.


The fast food firm agreed to $1 million in back pay for harmed workers, but not the key joint employer issue, which is also a bugaboo of Congress ruling Republicans. Fight For 15s no keeps the issue alive.


The NLRBs own statement made it clear McDonalds settled to avoid lawsuits over the back pay. NLRB claimed the settlement would represent a full remedy for the employees who have waited since the first charges were filed in November of 2012 and, if approved, would avoid years of possible additional litigation.


On a related issue, two days before the latest hearing, McDonalds workers took to the streets in 16 cities to protest the firms reneging on promised raises that would take them $1 per hour above federal, state or local minimum wages, whichever was highest.


McDonalds publicity stunt has turned out to be a sham, worker Kayla Kuper told Reuters. She earns $11.40 hourly at a McDonalds corporate store not a franchise -- in Chicago. The citys minimum wage is $12 an hour.


We cant take this company at its word. Thats why we need union rights so that we can hold McDonalds accountable and win the decent wage and basic benefits we need to support our families, Kuper said.

Source: PAI