The Fight for $15 is ending the year on a high note. The protest movement, which began in New York City two years ago with fast-food workers demanding at least $15 an hour and the right to unionize without retaliation, has spread to more than 100 cities and many industries, including retail, home care, hospitality and airport services.
On Friday, the federal government validated the workers’ concerns when the general counsel’s office of the National Labor Relations Board issued 13 complaints, containing dozens of charges, against the McDonald’s Corporation and many of its franchisees for violating employees’ rights to press for better pay and working conditions. The alleged violations involve coercive conduct against workers who supported the protests, including threats, surveillance, interrogations, firings, discriminatory discipline, reduced hours and excessive restrictions on conversation about unions or work conditions. Managers were also said to have offered promotions in exchange for giving up the fight.
Memo to McDonald’s: Wouldn’t it be easier just to bargain over the terms and conditions of employment?
The N.L.R.B. complaints hold McDonald’s jointly responsible for the labor practices at its franchisees’ restaurants. The “joint employer” designation undercuts the corporation’s longstanding claim that the treatment of McDonald’s workers is not its responsibility, but the sole responsibility of...
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