MEDIA ADVISORY: Fast-food workers rally to call on McDonald's to pay its workers $15 an hour

Raleigh workers to ask fast-food giant to respect their right to form a union without retaliation

WHAT: Rally at McDonald’s for $15 and right to form a union
WHO: NC Fast-food workers and community supporters, including Clermont Ripley, staff attorney with the NC Justice Center's Workers' Rights Project
WHERE: McDonald's, 105 E. South Street, Raleigh
WHEN: Friday, August 1, 12:00 p.m. EST

RALEIGH (August 1, 2014) — Raleigh fast-food workers will rally at a local McDonald’s on Friday, August 1st, calling on McDonald’s to stop hiding behind its franchisees, pay its workers $15 an hour and respect their right to form a union without retaliation.

Despite McDonald’s repeated assertions that it does not control employment decisions at its franchised restaurants, the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel said Tuesday that the $5.6 billion company is indeed a joint employer that exerts substantial power over its employees’ working conditions. In a determination that carries widespread implications for the fast-food industry, the general counsel found that McDonald’s wields such extensive influence over the business operations of its franchisees that individual franchise operators have little autonomy in setting or controlling workplace conditions. McDonald’s, for all intents and purposes, is the employer.
 
The general counsel’s office Tuesday informed regional directors of the NLRB in offices around the country that McDonald’s should be treated as an employer. There are dozens of charges alleging illegal conduct by the fast-food giant pending in at least 17 cities that could now be adjudicated using the government’s new directive.
 
“McDonald’s can try to hide behind its franchisees, but today’s determination by the NLRB shows there’s no two ways about it: The Golden Arches is an employer, plain and simple,” said Micah Wissinger, an attorney at Levy Ratner who brought the case on behalf of McDonald’s workers in New York City. “The reality is that McDonald’s requires franchisees to adhere to such regimented rules and regulations that there’s no doubt who’s really in charge.”

For nearly two years, McDonald’s and other fast-food workers across the country have been joining together and going on strike, calling for $15 and the right to form a union without retaliation. But time and time again, the company and other industry players have tried to sidestep workers’ calls, inventing a make-believe world in which responsibility for wages and working conditions falls squarely on the shoulder of franchisees.
 
“Now that the government has recognized what us workers have always known— that McDonald’s is the boss—maybe the company will stop making excuses for why we’re treated so poorly and pay us a wage we can live on,” said Richard Eiker, who has worked for the same Kansas City McDonald’s franchisee for 18 years.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Local: Zaina Alsous, zaina.alsous@gmail.com, 919-757-1031; National: Laura Brandon, Laura.Brandon@berlinrosen.com 202-641-8477.
 
 

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