The National Labor Relations Board says a collection of local McDonald’s restaurant owners have resisted the federal agency’s demands to turn over documents related to their hiring and staffing practices, so the agency has asked Chicago federal judges to order them to cooperate.
From Oct. 22 to Oct. 27, the NLRB has filed actions in federal court in Chicago against nine franchisees, operating 13 different corporate entities which, in turn, run dozens of McDonald’s restaurants in Chicago and surrounding communities. The NLRB is demanding judges order the McDonald’s restaurant operators comply with subpoenas issued by the NLRB earlier this year as part of the agency’s ongoing investigation of unfair labor practice complaints brought by labor unions against McDonald’s and its franchise operators.
Defendants named in the actions filed locally include K Mark Enterprises, of Richton Park; Nornat Inc., of Lansing; Lofton & Lofton Management, of Chicago; Keravites Restaurants, of Winnetka; RMC Enterprises, of Portage, Ind.; Topaz Management, in partnership with Mashayo Inc., of Dolton; Taylor & Malone Management, in partnership with Seven MCD Inc., of Chicago; V. Oviedo Inc., of Chicago; and Wright Management, of Oak Brook.
The local actions come as part of a series of actions filed by the NLRB against both McDonald’s USA and other franchise restaurant operators elsewhere, including in the New York and Philadelphia areas, according to federal court filings.
The subpoena enforcement actions began in late September and have continued throughout October.
They come as the latest steps in a months-long fight with McDonald’s and its franchisees, which began last year when labor groups, including the Service Employees International Union, complained to the NLRB. The unions and related groups said, despite the franchise business model under which the restaurants operate, for the purposes of unionization and other labor issues, McDonald’s and its franchisees should be seen as “joint employers,” liable for all labor violations that occur at the restaurants.
To further the complaint, the NLRB has issued sweeping subpoenas of company documents and records related to the way the fast food giant partners with franchise operators and organizes its business.
In New York federal court in September, the NLRB first asked a judge to order McDonald’s to comply with those subpoenas, issued months ago, saying McDonald’s has “impeded and continues to impede the board’s prosecution of … unfair labor practices charges” by turning over heavily-redacted versions of the requested documents.
McDonald’s has argued, however, it should be allowed to redact the documents because the blacked-out information in the desired documents is “sensitive” and not relevant to the NLRB’s investigation. The company has said the NLRB’s subpoena is “overly broad and excessive.”
In the complaints against the franchise operators in the Chicago area and elsewhere, the NLRB said the franchisees have yet to comply with subpoenas, also issued months ago, demanding they turn over documents also related to the issues covered by the SEIU’s complaint. The franchisees had fought the subpoenas this spring, but their attempts to revoke the subpoenas were denied by an administrative law judge.
The NLRB complaints alleged the various franchisees had made varying degrees of assertions they would comply, but to date, have turned over few, if any, of subpoenaed personnel files and other documents.