McDonald's agrees settlement in franchisees' United States labour case

Cornelia Mascio
Marzo 21, 2018

"We are very pleased to have reached settlement of the NLRB unfair labor practice proceedings involving McDonald's U.S. and various McDonald's franchisees across the country", the company said in an emailed statement.

"Today's proposal by McDonald's is not a settlement", Wissinger said in a statement.

Litigation began in 2012, when an advocacy group aimed at increasing the minimum wage, called Fight for $15, filed several cases against McDonalds.

McDonald's Corp. has agreed to settle an ongoing case with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on whether the company is a "joint employer" of workers at McDonald's franchises and liable for labor and wage violations committed by franchisees and subcontractors.

An administrative judge must now approve the agreement, in which McDonalds admits no wrongdoing.

The case was seen as an important test of how a 2015 NLRB decision that had rankled business groups by making it easier to prove that a company is a joint employer would apply to franchisees.

Under the definition prior to 2015, a company was only considered to be a joint employer if they had a direct hand in a franchisees employee issues, including scheduling and hiring decisions. Peter Robb, NLRB general counsel, said a settlement would "facilitate far more prompt and immediate relief for the employees".

McDonalds maintains that it "is not and never has been a joint employer with its franchisees".

Administrative Law Judge Lauren Esposito must now approve the settlement agreement, which the NLRB said in a release "are meant to provide 100% of backpay for the alleged discriminatees and represent a full remedy for all unfair labor practice cases pending before Judge Esposito".

"These settlements 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", the Board said in a press release. Lauren Esposito, the NLRB administrative law judge who is reviewing the case and who granted a 60-day stay in January for settlement discussions to take place, plans to schedule a hearing on the proposed agreement, saying it would not be valid without her approval. On March 17, Sen.

Representatives from Fight for $15 pointed to a statement made by Micah Wissinger, an attorney representing the group's worker organizing committees. Sens. Warren, Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., wrote, "the board's abandoning of Hy-Brand eliminates whatever support may have existed for your efforts to settle the McDonald's case. It is imperative that you swiftly resume and finish the trial".

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