Business & Economy

Ruling could undermine McDonald's stance on workers

Protesters in front of a McDonald's in South L.A. where fast-food workers and their supporters gathered to protest wage theft in April 2014. Many fast-food restaurants like McDonald's say they have no control over hiring and firing decisions in franchises, making it difficult for unions to organize workers across a restaurant chain.
Protesters in front of a McDonald's in South L.A. where fast-food workers and their supporters gathered to protest wage theft in April 2014. Many fast-food restaurants like McDonald's say they have no control over hiring and firing decisions in franchises, making it difficult for unions to organize workers across a restaurant chain.
File photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

McDonald's long-held position that it isn't responsible for workers at its franchised restaurants was dealt a blow on Thursday.

The National Labor Relations Board issued a ruling that refines its standard for determining when two or more parties can be considered joint employers. The decision involved a waste management company and its staffing agency, but is seen as having far broader implications — including for the fast-food industry.

Many fast-food restaurants like McDonald's Corp., Burger King and Taco Bell are run by franchisees, with the companies saying they have no control over hiring and firing decisions in those locations. That has made it difficult for unions to organize workers across a restaurant chain.