Lawmakers demand labor agency docs in McDonalds case

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Three congressional committee chairmen have demanded that the National Labor Relations Board turn over all documents related to its controversial decision to classify fast-food giant McDonald's Corp. as a "joint employer" with its individual franchise restaurants in a labor rights complaint. The lawmakers said they were "troubled" because of comments NLRB General Counsel Richard Griffin made in October apparently conceding that the case was on shaky legal ground.

In a speech at West Virginia University College of Law on Oct. 24, Griffin said, "We have a problem, legally, for our theory" in the joint employer case because there is NLRB case law that contradicts it even under the revamped legal standard that he thinks should apply.

"[W]e have concerns that you intend to pursue labor violations in this manner despite your admission that the legal grounds for doing so may be flawed," the lawmakers said in a letter sent Thursday to the NLRB. It was signed by Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., and House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline, R-Minn.

A Senate spokesman for the HELP Committee said that the lawmakers had not gotten a response. A spokesperson for the NLRB declined to comment.