The NLRB decision also hints that a third (and the most dramatic) act in the labor activists’ campaign may be around the corner. Here’s what we can expect: Apart from more fast food protests that include sit-down strikes, unions will continue their relentless efforts to drive a wedge between franchisees and franchisors. The decision by the NLRB general counsel – a former union official himself – gives the SEIU fodder to file endless complaints no matter how frivolous against nearly 14,000 independently owned and operated locations bearing the McDonald’s name. At the same time, the SEIU will inundate the McDonald’s corporate office with legal filings meant to push the company into a neutrality agreement.
A deluge of legal filings will also allow the unions to more accurately dissect which locations are corporate and which are operated by franchisees, an essential element for targeted organizing drives. In a recent blog, Wade Rathke, a former SEIU officer and the founder of disgraced activist outfit ACORN, called this process a “nightmare” for unions as they filed representation petitions against various outlets. Rathke went on to say that joint-employer status is not a game-changer for organized labor. His claim should be taken with a grain of salt because behind all the staged protests and paid protesters, the sponsored conventions and dubious arrests, the SEIU and other unions are desperate to organize the vast ranks of the fast food employees, whether they work for the corporation or a franchisee in Kansas. The most efficient way to do that is to link the distinct business entities and tear down the legal barriers that have hampered unionization of the fast food industry until now.