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IFA Has One Word for McD’s Joint Employer Ruling


When the National Labor Relations Board last week absolved McDonald’s of responsibility for alleged labor violations by its franchisees, Matt Haller of the International Franchise Association responded in a word: “Finally.”  

“After five years of litigation, five years of unnecessary legal costs, and five years of uncertainty in the franchise sector, IFA is thrilled the NLRB came to this common-sense conclusion,” Haller said in a statement. He is senior VP of government relations and public affairs. 

The NLRB first said it would hold McDonald’s liable as a joint employer in 2014; a joint-employer finding could have held McDonald’s liable for the actions of its franchisees and required the corporation to bargain with franchise workers who formed a union.

In a 2-1 ruling last Thursday, the federal agency ordered an administrative law judge to approve settlement agreements between McDonald’s franchisees and workers. Franchisees will be required to pay $171,636 to the affected workers and set up a $250,000 fund to handle future claims.

The Fight for $15, an SEIU-backed group working to unionize fast-food workers, called the ruling “illegitimate” and vowed to appeal the decision, pointing to President Trump-appointed NLRB board members who formed the majority opinion. “McDonald's is walking away with a get-out-of-jail-free card after illegally retaliating against low-paid workers who were fighting to be paid enough to feed their families," its statement said.

McDonald’s issued a statement saying it was pleased with the decision and said it allows its “franchisees and their employees to move forward, and resolves all matters without any admission of wrongdoing.”

The NLRB is also poised to issue its final rule on the joint employer standard. The expanded joint employer standard led to a 93 percent increase in lawsuits and cost franchises $33.3 billion annually, according to the IFA.


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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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