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The article titled, “Judge Rejects Settlement Over McDonald’s Labor Practices”, is the most recent article on the McDonald’s case that has been in trial since 2015. It all started in 2012 when McDonald’s workers started to protest for higher wages, and claim that they were threatened to be fired and retaliated against by management. The workers, including unions groups, filed a report with the NLRB, arguing that McDonald’s was a joint-employer and should be held responsible for the franchises. If McDonald’s was a joint-employer, they would technically control working conditions and be held responsible for all the labor-law related violations done by the franchises. It would also require bargaining with the union workers. This law has been changed around a bit in recent years, and most recently in December it was ruled that a company had to have “direct and immediate control over workers” to be a joint-employer.
This whole concept is where it got interesting to me, seeing that the law being changed so recently will probably have a huge impact on the outcome of this trial. The article focused on how Judge Esposito rejected the settlement that McDonald’s came back with. It included giving workers back some pay and a detailed notice of the settlement and their union rights. Micah Wissinger, a lawyer for the SEIU and affiliated groups said, “The way this is all structured, all the liability is on the franchisees, there is no obligation on McDonald’s part. Part of why she has rejected it is that they have no real obligations to do anything. ” The Judge claimed it was not reasonable, and hinted at how the company has been delaying this trial as long as they could, in hopes to get a more Republican general counsel. It intrigued me how much politics of that sort can affect major decisions in the labor relations world. After reading this article and doing some research on the past years of this trial, I now can see the seriousness of this case, and the implications it could have on McDonald’s. If it is ruled that McDonald’s is a joint-employer, then they would be responsible for how their employees in over 13,000 stores would be paid and treated.
This also would mean the employees would have the ability to unionize and negotiate with corporate. My first thought about this was just how huge and how many people could be in that union. If this happens, they would be able to have a lot of bargaining power, which could almost indefinitely mean higher wages. McDonald’s may find themselves paying much higher wages and dealing with all the lawsuits that come with the franchises. My opinion on this case is that I agree with the ruling Judge Esposito made. I do not think it is fair that the settlement McDonald’s came back with basically would hold the franchisees responsible for the actions of management, and McDonald’s itself would not be at fault. I also believe that the workers should be able to protest and negotiate for higher wages without being retaliated against. I can see how McDonald’s does not want that to happen, since a union of those workers would have a lot of buying power, but I only think it is fair since they do not believe they are getting fair wages for their work. Regardless of that, I do think McDonald’s should be considered a joint-employer and held at least partially responsible for what happened. The fact that the ruling on what a joint-employer is has changed a few times in the past few years is an issue that needs to be decided on and not changed.
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