McDonald’s ruling could open door for unions
The general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board ruled Tuesday that McDonald’s could be held jointly liable for labor and wage violations by its franchise operators—a decision that, if upheld, would disrupt longtime practices in the fast-food industry and ease the way for unionizing nationwide. Business groups called the decision outrageous. Some legal experts described it as a far-reaching move that could signal the labor board’s willingness to hold many other companies to the same standard of “joint employer,” making businesses that use subcontractors or temp agencies at least partly liable in cases of overtime, wage, or union organizing violations. The cases filed with the NLRB grew out of the five one-day strikes demanding a $15 wage that fast-food workers conducted against McDonald’s and other fast-food outlets beginning in November 2012. Over 100 workers complained to the board, saying that they had been fired, had their hours cut or were otherwise punished for the protests. New York Times, 7-29-14.
Restaurant workers stay hungry as food industry feasts on profit
Here’s an uncomfortable truth that supports the thriving food industry in major cities like New York: the people sending out the food at restaurants often could not afford to sit down to a meal at the same tables they serve. That’s why, yesterday, Governor Cuomo announced the formation of a Wage Board “to review and recommend any changes to the relevant regulations for food service workers and service employees in New York State.” In fact, many restaurant workers can’t afford much food at all. They’re not starving, but they’re living a situation known as food insecurity. The Guardian, 7-25-14.