NLRB Ruling Makes Franchisors Liable for Franchisee Labor Practices

The general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board ruled July 29 that McDonald’s is the joint employer of its franchisees’ employees, making the company liable for labor and wage violations by its franchise operators and easing the way for unionizing nationwide.

Business groups, including the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, of which NATSO is a member, immediately denounced NLRB’s decision saying it threatens to disrupt decades of established law that has allowed franchises to flourish, created millions of jobs and allowed hundreds and thousands to achieve the American dream of owning their own small business. NATSO is having the NLRB ruling reviewed by counsel, and in the coming days will update members on what this decision means for truckstops and travel plazas.

“This latest [NLRB] move only serves to confuse the boundaries of franchisors and franchisees, which ultimately will threaten the ability to generate jobs and ensure world-class workforce training in crucial areas such as EEO, safety, and collective activity,” said CDW Chairman Geoffrey Burr.

Worker Center Watch spokesman Ryan Williams said for nearly two years, the nation's quick-service restaurants and retailers have been at the center of relentless attacks from unions and their worker center allies and that NLRB’s decision is another blow to job creation and entrepreneurship.

"The SEIU has invested more than $35 million in worker centers to help pave the way for unionization of chain restaurants and retailers -- with nothing to show for it,” Williams said. “Now the NRLB has simply changed the rules of the game to make Big Labor's union campaign easier."

NLRB’s ruling comes after the labor board’s legal team investigated 181 complaints accusing McDonald’s and its franchisees of unfair labor practices. NLRB’s general counsel Richard Griffin Jr. said he found merit in 43 claims that accused McDonald’s restaurants of illegally firing, threatening or penalizing workers for pro-labor activities.

McDonald’s has said that it will contest the decision. The issue will be argued before an Administrative Law Judge. If that judge upholds the decision the issue would likely be taken to court.


Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman's photo

Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman

Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman develops and executes communications strategies to advance NATSO’s public relations and advocacy goals. Tiffany also develops and oversees partnerships related to the NATSO Foundation’s public outreach initiatives. Tiffany lives in the D.C. metro area with her husband and their two sons.More
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