Unions Grab Power over Fast Food Franchises

Fast food franchises are now about to be plundered. This was not a defeat in the courts or in the legislature. It came from the executive branch—though not from an executive order (for once). Instead, the gift to unions came from Barack Obama’s appointee to the National Labor Relations Board, Richard Griffin. Ernest Istook explains in the Washington Times:

Mr. Griffin has declared that millions of Americans who work for franchise restaurants aren’t merely employees of the business owners, regardless of what their paychecks and the tax records say. Reversing decades of clear legal precedents, he declares that from now on they are the “joint” employees of McDonald’s and the other big franchise companies as well as the local store owners.

Now the big labor bosses no longer would face the challenge of trying to organize each separate restaurant into a local bargaining unit. They can go after all staff at all the Pizza Huts, all the KFC’s or all the Starbucks at the same time.


Mr. Griffin’s ruling technically only applies to a case involving McDonald’s for now, but the principle (or lack of it) will carry over to other franchises. All 12,700 McDonald’s locations would be declared one huge joint employer, even though the parent company only owns one-fifth of the franchises. Appeals will take years to work through the bureaucracies and the courts. The trade associations for the franchisors warns that millions of jobs are at risk and that many franchise owners will back away from any plans.

Istook makes some interesting observations about Griffins’ background, including the question of whether he has some connection to organized crime.

As much as I always love to talk about the corruption of governments with crime syndicates, the issue can be somewhat misleading. Unions are by definition, a form of organized crime. They use lethal force to confiscate property through coercion. They do this both through the direct power of the state who allows one group of workers to force other workers out of the market. They also do it sometimes by refusing to enforce laws against violence so that police “look the other way” while unions deal with those who might do their jobs at lower pay.

Unions are simply labor cartels and are just as exploitive and criminal as any other government imposed monopoly. Most of the workers themselves are exploited by the ways unions operate, since the union demands eventually destroy the industry so that the jobs disappear. Another way that unions exploit workers is getting them “benefits” in the forms of pensions and other future promises that cannot possibly materialize. So the workers think they have a great retirement saved up until the inevitable bankruptcy comes. Union leaders and their political accomplices, on the other hand, become immensely wealthy, just like other CEOs. In fact, there is every reason to expect union leadership to collude with the CEOs of the corporations they supposedly oppose.

We have had some wonderful court decisions setting back unions, but we need a lot more than that.