With almost no fanfare, the National Labor Relations Board last month announced plans to seek a settlement with McDonald’s instead of continuing to pursue a three-year-old lawsuit that accused the fast-food chain of colluding with its franchisees to punish employees who protested for higher pay.
Litigation had consumed 150 days of testimony since 2014 and hundreds of exhibits have been introduced. Closing arguments were considered to be just days away when the NLRB proposed settling.
The case involves McDonald’s employees in New York City who belong to the Fight for $15 group, which advocates for better wages. When they were fired following a protest, they filed unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB.
The case is significant because the employees argued that McDonald’s, the parent company, was equally liable as a joint employer, along with franchisees who own the individual stores where the employees worked.
The judge in the case has yet to rule on the NLRB’s petition to settle.