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Labor Board Says McDonald's Illegally Retaliated Against Striking Employees

McDonald's and several of its franchisees are in trouble with the government.

More trouble in McRib paradise for McDonald's.
More trouble in McRib paradise for McDonald's.
Mike Mozart/Flickr

2014 continues to suck for McDonald's: This year the McNugget behemoth has faced slumping sales, shutdowns in Russia, employee strikes for higher wages, a french fry shortage in Japan, and now even the American government is taking issue with the chain.

Today the National Labor Relations Board filed more than a dozen complaints against McDonald's and several of its individual franchisees spanning from Los Angeles all the way to New York. In a statement issued this morning, the NLRB says that the company "violated the rights of employees" who participated in the aforementioned worker strikes  with various actions including "discriminatory discipline," "discharges," cutting employees' hours, and threatening and interrogating employees about "communicating with union representatives or with other employees about unions."

Earlier this year the NRLB ruled that McDonald's corporate office is considered a "joint employer" alongside its franchisee owners, meaning that it can now be held responsible for what goes on at any of its restaurants. As CNBC points out, this "is important because it sets a precedent that could open McDonald's corporate office up to liability stemming from wrongdoing or laws broken by its more than 2,500 franchisees."

In a statement to CNBC about today's events, a McDonald's rep stated that they were "disappointed with the Board's decision to overreach and move forward with these charges," and that they plan to "contest the joint employer allegation as well as the unfair labor practice charges in the proper forums."

Earlier this year a report from the Economic Policy Institute revealed that almost 40 percent of restaurant employees live in poverty. The study recommended raising the minimum wage, which is exactly what the widespread fast-food strikes have been aiming to achieve, with workers across the country pushing for $15 an hour.

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