McDonald's Labor Accord Tossed by Agency Judge as `Lacking'

(Bloomberg) -- McDonald’s Corp. failed to win approval to resolve a bitter dispute with franchise employees who claim they were fired for participating in a national movement for union rights and $15 wages in fast food.

A National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge wrote Tuesday that “certain fundamental elements of any effective settlement are lacking.” Such a complicated settlement in a case loaded with confusion and a “history of antagonism” virtually guarantees the accord won’t work, she said.

Critics including Senator Elizabeth Warren had accused the labor board’s Trump-appointed general counsel of trying to railroad workers into a rushed settlement. McDonald’s is seeking to avoid being found legally liable as a “joint employer” of workers whose paychecks come from the chain’s franchisees, she said.

The so-called Fight For $15 movement is backed by the Service Employees International Union.

McDonald’s called Tuesday’s ruling a disappointment and said it’s deciding whether to appeal.

“The NLRB General Counsel, McDonald’s USA, and various franchisees negotiated a settlement agreement that is fair, reasonable, and provides the opportunity now for full and complete relief to all current and former franchisee employees affected by the litigation,” the company said in a statement.

An administrative law judge’s rejection of a settlement can be appealed to the members of the National Labor Relations Board, where Republicans have a majority.

The NLRB declined to comment on the decision.

“Today’s decision confirms what has been evident for months -- that this proposed settlement was nothing more than a sham,” Mary Joyce Carlson, an attorney for Fight for $15, said in an email.

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