The National Labor Relations Board has ruled in McDonald’s favor in a long-running case filed by 20 workers who were fired or faced retaliation for trying to unionize.
The board said Thursday that it favors a settlement that will require McDonald’s franchisees to pay $171,636 to the affected workers. The franchisees must also notify current and former employees about the settlement and set up a $250,000 fund to handle future claims.
The workers were seeking a ruling that would consider McDonald’s a “joint employer” with its franchisees. That would have increased the company’s liability and potentially have made it easier for McDonald’s 850,000 U.S. workers to form a union.
But Chicago-based McDonald’s insists it doesn’t directly employ the workers. About 95% of its 14,000 U.S. restaurants are owned by franchisees.
An administrative law judge with the labor board rejected the proposed settlement in July 2018, saying it was unlikely to end the dispute and didn’t require McDonald’s to enforce the settlement.
McDonald’s appealed to the full board, which agreed with the company. The case will now return to the administrative law judge, who has been directed by the board to approve the settlement.