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McDonald’s on Trial

March 15, 2016
Plain English Version
Workers protest outside a McDonald's restaurant. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Workers protest outside a McDonald’s restaurant. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Does McDonald’s hire thousands of workers? Or do the employees work for the owners of franchises?

That is the question. If a judge says McDonald’s is the employer, many things will change. Unions will bargain with one employer not thousands of franchise owners. One contract may cover all McDonald workers.

It could be the best thing to happen to workers in many years.

Smaller companies own most of the stores in big chains like McDonald’s and Burger King. They are franchises. McDonald’s sets the tone and the standards but says it is not the employer of the workers.

Unions tried to organize the workers. They tried to get higher wages and better conditions for the workers. The problem was that they were not talking to McDonald’s. They were talking to the owners of franchises. At best an agreement would cover only a small number of stores.

Some franchise owners have made it hard for the workers. They would fire or threaten them. The workers complained. The National Labor Relations Board looked at the problem. It came out with an opinion. It said McDonald’s did control the working conditions at the stores. It was the employer.

McDonald’s worked as hard as it could to keep this hearing from happening. Now it is happening. It will take weeks. McDonalds will use All kinds of tactics to keep the system as it is.

If the decision is against McDonald’s, they will appeal it to a higher court. The unions will also do whatever they can to prove McDonald’s is the employer. It may take a few years. But a victory would be well worth the wait.

Source: The Washington Post March 10, 2016

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