Now more than ever

This was big news yesterday:

The general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board ruled on Tuesday that McDonald’s could be held jointly liable for labor and wage violations by its franchise operators — a decision that, if upheld, would disrupt longtime practices in the fast-food industry and ease the way for unionizing nationwide.
Business groups called the decision outrageous. Some legal experts described it as a far-reaching move that could signal the labor board’s willingness to hold many other companies to the same standard of “joint employer,” making businesses that use subcontractors or temp agencies at least partly liable in cases of overtime, wage or union-organizing violations.
The ruling comes after the labor board’s legal team investigated myriad complaints that fast-food workers brought in the last 20 months, accusing McDonald’s and its franchisees of unfair labor practices.

This isn’t just about wages. It’s also about the theft of wages:

McDonald’s workers in California, Michigan and New York filed lawsuits this week against the company and several franchise owners, asserting that they illegally underpaid employees by erasing hours from their timecards, not paying overtime and ordering them to work off the clock.
The lawsuits were announced Thursday by the employees’ lawyers and organizers of the union-backed movement that is pressing the nation’s fast-food restaurants to increase wages to at least $15 an hour.
In two lawsuits filed in Michigan against McDonald’s and two Detroit-area franchise owners, workers claimed that their restaurants told them to show up to work, but then ordered them to wait an hour or two without pay until enough customers arrived.
“Our wages are already at rock bottom,” Sharnell Grandberry, a McDonald’s worker in Detroit, said in a news release announcing the suit. “It is time for McDonald’s to stop skirting the law to pad profits. We need to get paid for the hours we work.”
In three lawsuits brought in California, the workers claim that the McDonald’s restaurants employing them did not pay them for all hours worked, shaved hours from pay records and denied them required meal periods and rest breaks.

I haven’t been able to find anyone offering anything to replace the very old idea of organizing and then speaking as a group to gain some small leverage and power in the workplace – in other words, a labor union. Unions were and are a force outside of government that shifted some power and control from employers to employees. Until someone shows me some other entity or organization or idea that will fill that hole, labor unions are the only game in town. There’s a huge imbalance of power operating here and it is only going to get worse as we move to “domestic outsourcing” and more and more of us are contract workers or temps and the relationship between employee and employer becomes more and more attenuated and distant:

Say “outsourcing” and Americans think of call centers in India or factories in China. But American workers increasingly are being forced to navigate a byzantine system of third-party contractors that leads to lower pay and fewer benefits.
Call it “domestic outsourcing.”
A new report from the National Employment Law Project says that domestic outsourcing makes it harder for workers to organize and effectively lets companies pass the buck on taxes, benefits and worker safety.

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172 replies
  1. Baud says:

    The general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board ruled

    Is the next stage an appeal to the entire board?

  2. Kay says:


    July 29, 2014
    The National Labor Relations Board Office of the General Counsel has investigated charges alleging McDonald’s franchisees and their franchisor, McDonald’s, USA, LLC, violated the rights of employees as a result of activities surrounding employee protests. The Office of the General Counsel found merit in some of the charges and no merit in others. The Office of the General Counsel has authorized complaints on alleged violations of the National Labor Relations Act. If the parties cannot reach settlement in these cases, complaints will issue and McDonald’s, USA, LLC will be named as a joint employer respondent.
    The National Labor Relations Board Office of the General Counsel has had 181 cases involving McDonald’s filed since November 2012. Of those cases, 68 were found to have no merit. 64 cases are currently pending investigation and 43 cases have been found to have merit. In the 43 cases where complaint has been authorized, McDonald’s franchisees and/or McDonald’s, USA, LLC will be named as a respondent if parties are unable to reach settlement.

  3. Joe Buck says:

    I’m afraid that the Supreme Court will gut this move. If there is anything the current court is committed to, it is “whatever the Chamber of Commerce wants us to do”.

    But it is long overdue. McDonalds exerts very tight control over its franchises.

  4. Kay says:

    @Roger Moore:

    They can’t even count contract and temp employees, let alone regulate the contractor and police all these workplaces where the named entity, the physical location and workplace, isn’t the employer.

    You’d need an army of regulators and good luck finding the “employer” buried under all this deliberate distancing. They have to have some mechanism or method to help themselves, outside of a lawsuit.

  5. Mnemosyne says:


    I think what Roger is saying is that it’s the contracting employer or franchisor (i.e. McDonald’s or Wal-Mart) who should be legally required to monitor their contractors/franchisees or face legal penalties. They shouldn’t be able to shrug and say, Hey, that was our contractor who did that, not us!

  6. Smiling Mortician says:

    As the president of a small (~170-member) local — thanks, Kay, for your consistent attention to labor issues. The demonization of labor unions that really hit its stride with former SAG president Reagan has been disheartening throughout my adult life.

  7. Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @Smiling Mortician: Seconded. And this ruling is a big effing deal.

    GWB admin was terrible for unions (and US households in general except for the .1%) and BHO has breathed life back into NLRB. This is what DC Circuit went after him over, after all. Crushing labor is THE ISSUE for the corporate wing of the GOP. And he wouldn’t have been able to do it without two terms.

    Too bad too many labor people thought EFCA was a done deal because they’d talked to, voted for certain pols without even explaining what it meant to their own rank and file, never mind the public at large. So stupid. I’m glad my union didn’t hold a grudge and fought like hell in 2012.

  8. Litlebritdifrnt says:

    How about salaried employees like me that never take a day off? We recently had a case that required me to drive an hour to and from the courthouse out of county every day. That meant that I was working 10 hour days, five days a week. My boss does a nice thing and takes me to lunch every day at the restaurant right next door, but it means I never really get a lunch break, so instead of working 40 hours a week I am actually working 45. I am supposed to get two weeks paid vacation every year but I haven’t actually taken two weeks for ten years. I took a week last year. My boss has required me to work at least a couple of hours on the weekend for the last five weekends. This means I am working in excess of 40 hours every week. Is there any law that protects me? I know like it sounds that I am whining but right now my boss totally controls my life, both during working hours and non working hours.

  9. Rex Everything says:

    The “other idea that will fill that hole” is the workers owning the store, controlling the company, and reaping the profits!

    But yeah, unions are our best bet til that happens.

  10. Kay says:

    @Smiling Mortician:

    It’s an easy call for me. Am I going with the Fight for Fifteeners or Justice Alito? I’m not even in a labor union, nor am a low wage worker, and I don’t have to think about that all that long.

    I think me and mine will do better over on your side :) Easiest decision ever.

  11. RSR says:

    In education, it’s not ‘domestic outsourcing.’ It’s called ‘charter schools’ and ‘TFA.’

  12. Mnemosyne says:


    Yes, but in a perfect world (ahem), that wouldn’t matter. The primary employer would be legally responsible for making sure that their contractors are obeying the law no matter how many layers there are in between them and the sub-sub-sub-subcontractor. Basically, if you show up to the primary employer’s worksite (as with a cleaning crew) or represent the primary employer in any way (as with doing telephone or computer customer service), that primary employer should be legally responsible for making sure your on-paper employer is not violating the law.

  13. Roger Moore says:


    They shouldn’t be able to shrug and say, Hey, that was our contractor who did that, not us!

    I actually think this should extend to contractors in general, not just labor contractors. If you’re buying stuff off the shelf from a vendor, you don’t have the same responsibility, but if you’re paying somebody to make something just for you, you have a responsibility to make sure they’re not cutting any corners. Of course the real solution is to have enough government inspectors to monitor all the contractors whether or not the companies contracting with them are responsible enough to care.

  14. Mnemosyne says:


    Also, too, it’s interesting to me that the companies in question are claiming that they can’t possibly police all of that because, here at the Giant Evil Corporation, I have to do a training every couple of years about the supply chain and how to place orders for GEC-branded merchandise only with vendors who have a clear supply chain that follows company policy from start to finish. Basically, if I order t-shirts that I want to have a department logo put on so I can give them away to our office employees, I have to verify that everyone from the makers of the t-shirt to the people who put the silkscreened logo on it are following the GEC’s policies.

    So, obviously when it comes to something that could lead to product recalls or public embarrassment (for, say, using child labor), companies have no problem insisting on monitoring their subcontractors. They could do it, and they could be legally compelled to do it. They just don’t want to.

  15. Kay says:


    I think it does matter, though. I think the further and further “the employer” gets from “the employee” we get this kind of disconnect, where Amazon’s contractor is parking ambulances outside their warehouses rather than putting in a proper ventilation and cooling system.

    This was a contract, a deal. I work, you make sure I’m not passing out with heat stress, oh, and you also have to pay me if you’re going to make me sit for 2 hours and wait to “clock in”.

    With distance comes this behavior and loss of connection where these people are completely interchangeable and less than human.

  16. Botsplainer says:

    Why do some women obsessively insist on being late for “fun” appointments? Dinner, theater, movies, diving?

    Why not just get ready a little early, building in time, so she could woolgather at the end rather than rushing herself by delaying the ready-getting.

    I’m asking for a friend, who compulsively arrives 10 minutes early…

  17. Mnemosyne says:


    I’m getting the feeling that we’re talking at cross-purposes. I’m saying that Amazon should be legally responsible for the safety of all workers on their job site, regardless of who that worker’s “on paper” employer is. What are you saying?

  18. Roger Moore says:


    They just don’t want to.

    This. A major point of the nest of contractors is to evade responsibility so the company can pretend to be responsible and treat its employees well while still getting the financial benefits of cheating them seven ways from Sunday. The real thing they’re contracting out is their misdeeds.

  19. Kay says:


    You’re relying on regulatory power and (in this instance) a lawsuit. I’m saying there aren’t enough regulators in the world to monitor an employee/employer relationship that is as attenuated as “third party contractors” and the vast majority of those wronged employees won’t get into a court, ever.

    I think they need a way to help themselves and organizing and acting in concert is the only power they have that they can readily access, as individuals. I think we need something outside regulations and lawsuits; leverage, a counter-force, or at least the threat of one forming. Unions were a check on all this; they had millions of employees literally “on the ground” in workplaces with their own set of rules and their own process. They weren’t relying on a court or the arrival of a regulator. They were policing employers themselves.

  20. efgoldman says:


    I know like it sounds that I am whining but right now my boss totally controls my life, both during working hours and non working hours.

    You’ve been calling this guy an a-hole, and talking about finding a new job, for months at least, maybe years. And that’s just here. Maybe it’s time to overcome the inertia.

  21. Mnemosyne says:


    I’m saying there aren’t enough regulators in the world to monitor an employee/employer relationship that is as attenuated as “third party contractors” and the vast majority of those wronged employees won’t get into a court, ever.

    I don’t disagree with you but, in the meantime, don’t you think we should at least take a stab at making employers legally responsible for their on-site workers even if those workers aren’t technically “employees”? I’m not really sure how a union helps if the employers have no legal responsibility in the first place. Who does the union organize against — their legal employer(s) or the employer they’re working for? Right now, as I understand it, they would have no right to organize against the primary employer, so if the subcontractor unionizes, the primary employer finds a new, non-union subcontractor, and you’re back to square one.

  22. WaterGirl says:

    I would just like to say how nice it has been to have Balloon Juice threads every 2 or 2.5 hours today. Thanks to all the front pagers who are posting.

    I am especially happy to see the TBogg post tonight because, well, TBogg! But I’m also happy because now that TBogg is back I feel confident that John Cole is finally getting the help he has been fighting for. Yay for that!

    edited for clarity

  23. Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:


    I don’t disagree with you but, in the meantime, don’t you think we should at least take a stab at making employers legally responsible for their on-site workers even if those workers aren’t technically “employees”?

    Where do you get the idea that she doesn’t?

  24. Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    I have applied for about 25 jobs this week, including 12 today. I can’t describe just how depressing it is. I haven’t gotten any writing done all week and the chances don’t look good given my mood at this point. I just want to go home, go to bed , and never wake up.

  25. Kay says:


    I’m not disagreeing with you. The ruling makes it easier to reach the employer and easier to form a union. It’s sort of chicken/egg anyway. There wouldn’t have been any action on wage theft without labor backing and there wouldn’t have been a Fight for Fifteen, and “labor backing” eventually goes away if there aren’t any union members left. When I’m feeling most calm and reasonable I almost think it’s inevitable. There will always be some kind of mechanism for collective action outside government, because that’s an old idea and it probably isn’t going away. Even if they kill this manifestation of it, it’ll pop back up in one form or another.

    It’s a human thing, not a legalistic or sympathetic-government-dependent thing :)

    Keith Ellison wants to make it a civil right. I agree with that take on it. It’s like crossing national borders when you have to get the hell out of your country for one reason or another. They should regulate it and let it survive because it’s neater and more easily managed bound by laws and rules than it is unbound, and it isn’t going away no matter what they do.

  26. Baud says:


    Thanks for the link. I hadn’t realized how hard it was to enforce protections under current labor laws.

  27. Kay says:


    The DOL is good on it. Unsurprisingly, we haven’t modernized our labor laws. I wonder why not? Like we haven’t modernized the voting rights act.

    I like Thomas Perez. He came from the DOJ voting rights section. That was his former job:

    Republicans say Perez has selectively enforced laws according to his political views. GOP senators have suggested that politics has guided his decisions about enforcing voting rights laws and accused him of supporting efforts to sidestep federal immigration laws when he was a local government official in Maryland.
    “Tom Perez is more than just some left-wing ideologue – he’s a left-wing ideologue who appears perfectly willing to bend the rules to achieve his ends,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

    That’s the sort of endorsement I look for! They got it all in that attack, didn’t they? The blacks AND the browns. Voter fraud and immigration – obviously he’s biased there, because his name is Perez.

  28. burnspbesq says:

    @Joe Buck:

    I’m afraid that the Supreme Court will gut this move

    I’m not a labor lawyer, but I think that in one sense, that’s already been done. The precedent in the Wal-Mart employment discrimination case probably makes it impossible to bring a class action for the kinds of violations being alleged here, because there won’t be a common nucleus of fact (every employee who got screwed got screwed in a unique way, so there will have to be a lot of indivdualized fact-finding that is inconsistent with class-action status).

  29. Baud says:


    Do you think the unions should have given up on card check in 2009 to get the rest of EFCA passed (assuming that there wouldn’t have been some other excuse for not passing it)? I didn’t actually pay that much attention to the issue at the time.

  30. burnspbesq says:

    @Corner Stone:

    No one else treats billable talent like this.

    It is to laugh. If there was any lingering doubt about whether YANAL, it was just dispelled.

    And labor law firms are the worst abusers, because they know EXACTLY what it means for somebody to be in an exempt category under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

  31. joel hanes says:


    Three step plan to regain control :

    1. Update your resume. Then polish. Just doing this step will make you feel better all by itself.

    2. Interview for a “better” job, where “better” is determined solely by what you want for yourself. Continue interviewing until you have an offer that you think you should take.

    3. Tell your current boss that you appreciate the lunches, and the challenge, and the salary; but that you need to re-establish some work/life balance, and from this point onward you will work 40-hour weeks. Period.

    One of two outcomes: your current boss turns out to be OK with 40 hour weeks, and you stay; or you take the other job.

  32. rikyrah says:

    REVIEW: Get On Up Is a Loud, Proud and Oscar-Worthy James Brown Biopic

    Richard Corliss

    12:26 PM ET

    Chadwick Boseman, who played Jackie Robinson in ’42,’ is sensational as the Godfather of Soul in this bold movie from the director of ‘The Help’

    Even by the standards of early rock ‘n’ roll songs, the 1956 “Please, Please, Please” is primitive, in fact primal. It’s the “Hare Krishna” of sexual desperation: one word is repeated a couple dozen times in a lover’s mantra, prayer or threat, as crooned by the vocal group, The Famous Flames, and howled by their lead singer. In the biopic Get On Up, a record-label executive listens to the number and dismisses it. Where are the verse and chorus, where’s the play of words? And Brown’s manager keeps repeating, “It’s not the song.” Exactly right. It’s the singer — the pleader, the testifier — James Brown.

    The singer and the showmanship. On stage more than on records, Brown turned “Please, Please, Please” into fervent melodrama with a comic undercoating. The first record and first R&B hit for Brown and the Flames, the song always came at their end of their set, with Brown intoning the dirge as the house-band saxes followed him in a slow, keening descent. This went on for a few thrilling minutes. Then, totally spent by his exertions, and crushed by the perfidy of womankind, Brown collapsed onstage, was lifted to his feet by attendants and, with the robe of a defeated boxer draped over his shoulders, began to drag himself toward the wings — until the cries of the audience magically revived him. Like Lazarus or the Frankenstein monster, he summoned the will and strength to sing one more chorus. Now that’s entertainment.

  33. Gex says:

    @Mnemosyne: Agreed. They pretend they don’t know, but come on. A person that used to cost a company X amount to hire now costs oodles less with one or more contracting firms getting a cut along the way? How does this happen without abusing the workers? It doesn’t. Just because they don’t bother to find out how it happens doesn’t mean they don’t realize something like this is happening.

  34. PurpleGirl says:

    @Smiling Mortician:

    former SAG president Reagan

    Yes, Reagan was president of SAG. That doesn’t mean he was friendly to unions or wanted them to thrive. The one thing that grew out of his SAG presidency was a major change in who agents could represent. Before him, agents represented actors or writers or producers, etc. Agents could not and did not cross represent the same the people involved in a deal. After Reagan, agents were representing multiple parties in the same deal. VIACOM became an important power in the industry.

  35. ruemara says:

    @efgoldman: It’s not really inertia. You need to know the local markets. I feel your pain, Lil. But it is time to really search for something else. This is wage theft and if you have documentation of this schedule, it may be time to seek out your local labour board.

  36. WaterGirl says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Looking for work is really hard, unless you are built in a way that I am not. I’m really impressed that you can get yourself do apply for that many jobs, especially since the results of your search have been so discouraging.

    Could you give yourself tomorrow and Friday off to do some writing before you hit the applications again on Monday?

    Please don’t give up. I know it may not seem like much, but people on balloon juice care about what happens to you.

  37. Kay says:


    This is good too.

    Mr. Kirsanow expects the general counsel’s decision to be appealed to the full five-member board — which is considered generally supportive of the general counsel’s view — and then to a federal appeals court. He predicted that an appellate court would uphold the general counsel’s decision in deference to the labor board’s interpretation of the National Labor Relations Act.
    The full five-person labor board is considering a case in which the Teamsters union has asked it to declare Browning-Ferris a joint employer along with the staffing agency it uses to supply workers at a recycling plant in California. The Teamsters argue that Browning- Ferris closely directs the use of the staffing agency’s workers. In that case, the labor board has invited business and labor groups to file briefs over how the N.L.R.B. should define joint employer.

    If this is the direction of the modern workplace, state actors have to offer some modern version of “employee” protections to these people or at least make it possible for them to get those protections some other way than thru the state regulatory apparatus. I don’t have much sympathy for the contractors. I mean, for goodness sakes. I think we have to draw the damn line at stealing wages, “job creators” thought they may be. It’s out of whack. They can either even it up or let the workers organize and act to even it up.

  38. efgoldman says:


    it may be time to seek out your local labour board.

    I believe she’s in North Carolina, in which case the suggestion is laughable.

  39. raven says:

    @WaterGirl: My sister is 63 and has been trying to find anything in LA for over a year. She was in the mortgage loan business before the crash and really has no marketable skills. I really worry about what she’s going to do.

  40. Mike in NC says:


    I know like it sounds that I am whining but right now my boss totally controls my life, both during working hours and non working hours.

    No, you are not whining at all. But the so-called “Right to Work” states feel entitled to treat employees like dirt. This actually wasn’t much of an issue in NoVA, but it sure was for me in NC. I hated every place I worked at. The last one had a paranoid control freak project manager who insisted that if you wanted to take an unpaid day of leave, you needed to designate in writing somebody who could jump up and backfill for you. I never before had to deal with crap like that in 30 years in the workplace. I was never so happy to get laid off.

  41. Iowa Old Lady says:

    As for franchises, my sister and BIL own a Subway franchise, and Subway regulates all kinds of things that they do quite tightly. Subway also puts them through regular training. I don’t know if treatment of employees is included in that, but if McDonald’s is like Subway, neither one can claim they don’t regulate their franchisees.

  42. Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @WaterGirl: My financial situation is reaching the point that the worry never lets up. Being employed for six weeks out of the last six years is taking its toll. I appreciate that people here care about me but it’s reaching the point that if there isn’t anyone who cares AND IS WILLING TO PAY ME it really doesn’t matter.

    I don’t want to sound churlish but sympathy by itself just doesn’t make much difference. I need something tangible.

  43. WaterGirl says:

    @raven: That’s rough. Maybe she can find an employer who hires for the person rather than the resume. That’s how I always hired. I didn’t worry so much about the experience, I always hired the people who we would want to share an office with, who were sharp had a good customer service attitude. Never picked a bad one, and I gave a number of people a start in a new field.

  44. Mike in NC says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Sorry, but it really, truly sucks out there still. In most places, being over age 50 is the kiss of death unless you have a very special skill set. In other places, you can count on that being the case if you’re over age 40.

  45. WaterGirl says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): I wish there was something concrete I could do, but these days I am my own little consulting company of one, so I am not in a position to hire anyone.

    It seems like you are getting interviews, but you are not getting the jobs. Is that correct? Or are you not getting interviews for jobs you think you are qualified for? If it’s the latter, then the one concrete thing I could do is offer to take a look at your resume – sometimes it’s the presentation and not the content that can make a difference between getting the interview or not.

    I’m not a professional resume writer, but I sure read a lot of them while I worked at the university.

    Edit: I see that you answered my question a couple of comments up. I would be glad to take a look at your resume and offer suggestions if you think that could help.

  46. Kay says:


    I don’t know. I’m always impatient with hindsight because I don’t really think that way. In talking to some of them both at Netroots and here (the active Democrats here are mostly labor people) they feel they have responded to the rap against them, which was they weren’t creative or forward thinking enough, and I agree. They have made changes. They’re acting on behalf of people who aren’t union members and probably won’t be union members. They’re also more diverse. They’re less white and less male in both membership and (local) leadership and they no longer disdain people like home health care workers. They’re actively courting those people. Oddly, I think the shoe is on the other foot. (Some) in government and also business are the people who are non-responsive to the reality of the workplace now, for working people.

  47. Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:


    It seems like you are getting interviews, but you are not getting the jobs. Is that correct?

    No. I haven’t gotten an interview in about four years. (The teaching gig essentially got dropped in my lap when a former professor of mine pulled out of doing it so late that the company didn’t have any time to find someone else and pretty much had to take his recommendation to try me.)

    And, sure, take a look at my resume. But that whole business pisses me the fuck off. I’ve paid several different people to look at my resume and help modify it already. I’m coming to the conclusion that no one has the slightest fucking idea what a resume should look like but that doesn’t stop people from pretending that they do and charging you for it.

  48. Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    Clarification: I haven’t gotten a real interview. Accountemps keeps hauling me in to talk to me but not in regards to any specific job. Every time they say that they don’t have anything that matches my skill set (which is bullshit) but that they’ll keep an eye out for something that does and call me. In five years of this run around they have literally never called me about a job.

  49. Corner Stone says:

    @burnspbesq: Ha. You’re damned right I am not a lawyer. I also know more about the business of a law firm than you will ever comprehend, Mr. Esq.
    I know more about the OPC and the PPP and the formula and the pooling of a big law than you could ever get to. I laugh at partners who aren’t on the executive committee.

  50. Kay says:

    I thought this House vote was just a political stunt and we shouldn’t give it air because it takes away from our devotion to serious bipartisan governing?

    So why are they all covering it as “breaking news!” ?

  51. gwangung says:

    Oddly, I think the shoe is on the other foot. (Some) in government and also business are the people who are non-responsive to the reality of the workplace now, for working people.

    I think that this is crystal clear from so many of the statements made about labor; much of the media and a lot of the politicians (particularly on the right) are out of touch with the realities of working and, moreover, don’t care to remedy that.

  52. efgoldman says:


    I thought this House vote was just a political stunt

    Huh? What House vote? (For those of us that may have had sports or American Pickers or something on the teevee box while we were balloon juicing.)

  53. Cervantes says:

    The general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board ruled on Tuesday that McDonald’s could be held jointly liable for labor and wage violations by its franchise operators.

    Not sure “ruled” is the right word. More like “advised,” maybe. Or “warned.”

    Anyway, the usual suspects were up in arms, from Forbes to the editorial board at Nation’s Restaurant News. They did not get where they are by taking responsibility for externalized costs, obviously.

  54. efgoldman says:


    Authorizing the Boner’s lawsuit against the President for excessive Executive Actions.

    The fact that it’s a political stunt (which it is – like voting 978 times to repeal ACA) and the fact that it’s being reported as the biggest story since Pearl Harbor are neither mutually exclusive, nor surprising.

  55. Kay says:

    Libertarians get another stellar convert:

    Among visitors to Freedom Fest, a libertarian convention in Las Vegas, you might miss the aging Don Blankenship amid other middle aged attendees and a swarm of college students in three piece suits. The former CEO of Massey Energy became the most feared man in West Virginia for his ruthless control over his mines and for busting unions throughout Appalachia. Now, he might be the most hated after a 2010 blast at his company’s Upper Big Branch mine killed 29 workers in one of the worst mining disasters in American history.
    Blankenship, who retired from Massey after the tragedy at UBB, is now a political activist, and he’s in Nevada for several reasons. For one thing, he was there to attend the Heartland Institute’s conference on global warming denial, which preceded Freedom Fest. And in any case, he now resides in Sin City for tax purposes.

    He’s “rebranding” as a libertarian. Why can’t Republicans just call themselves Republicans? It always has to be some other name: Tea Party and now “libertarian” I guess. Now we have to have 5000 boring discussions about whether people who vote exclusively for Republicans are “libertarians” or not, just like we did with the Tea Party and before that, right after Bush, when they were calling themselves “conservatives”.

  56. WaterGirl says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Well, I’m not asking you to pay me, so there’s that!

    I think resumes and cover letters need to do one thing above all, which is to make it really easy for the reader to see why you would be a good choice for them. Most people with a pile of resumes don’t have the time (or take the time) to connect the dots and figure out that you have what they are looking for.

    Do people even write cover letters these days, or is everything on-line, with no place for a cover letter?

    And it may be that you’re getting screwed by the “HR people get first crack at the resumes and weed some out before the person who actually knows the subject matter even sees them” thing. I have no idea what you do about that, other than try to game the system by making sure you use all the variations of the words you’re looking for. If some HR person is looking for the letters “SQL” and you say “sequel”, then maybe you don’t make the cut.

    You asked for concrete, and this is the only concrete thing I have to offer. But given your experience with other folks who have looked at your resume, I won’t be offended if you’ve “been there, done that”.

    If you want me to take a look, send Anne Laurie an email letting her know she can give me your address, and then let me know here that you have done sone. Otherwise, wishing you all the best.

  57. WaterGirl says:

    @efgoldman: What anonymous said. I will add that I read that the house can do this on their own; they don’t need agreement from the Senate. So this lawsuit is apparently moving forward.

  58. Anoniminous says:


    I’ll let who are lawyers talk about the legal aspect. For me if it gets Dems pissed off and into the voting booth it’s all for The Good.

  59. Kay says:


    I think they’re getting a sense that they need some kind of “populist” response or rhetoric, but that’s a political adjustment, not tethered enough to reality for me. It’s almost like a brush-off with Republicans. “Oh, the natives are getting restless so we have to offer some “POPULIST”…words” It’s purely an electoral strategy.

    I’m just not feeling that they get it, in any real way where you sit down and say “Wow. A LOT of people seem to work for contractors or as temps! I wonder if that changes anything for them and if maybe we need some new rules and laws and such? “

  60. burnspbesq says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I know more about the OPC and the PPP and the formula and the pooling of a big law than you could ever get to. I laugh at partners who aren’t on the executive committee.

    Reading the AmLaw 100 issue of The American Lawyer will teach you the jargon, so you can show off at cocktail parties and in blog comment sections. What do you actually know, and how did you learn it, dickhead?

  61. Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Corner Stone: I know you like to pretend that you’re an expert on every single subject (Oh, look! He knows more about law firms than lawyers!), but most of us have figured out that you’re a fraud. But, hey, if being an asshole is what floats your boat, have at it.

  62. Corner Stone says:

    @burnspbesq: Yeah, I get laid often by talking about pooling.
    It’s ok that you don’t know anything about the economics of your profession, little man.

  63. Corner Stone says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Lawyers are the absolute worst people to ask about their facts and figures.
    But, hey dog. The fraud that I am is going to work again tomorrow. For about the 20th year in a row. You?
    Good night.

  64. Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Corner Stone: Depending on one’s job within the legal profession, one doesn’t necessarily need to know the economics of large firm practice.

  65. someguy says:

    Screw raising wages. This is a good chance to drive these purveyors of crap out of business. Given the quality of food they sell and the attendant health effects, they aren’t much different from cigarette or gun manufacturers.

  66. StringOnAStick says:

    I don’t have the plug-in pie filter, but I’ve gotten really good at seeing a certain poster’s name and scrolling on by. Because seriously, what an asshole.

  67. Corner Stone says:

    @StringOnAStick: Oh, JMN, can’t help himself sometimes really. I’d suggest you give him a second chance if you’re interested in women’s NCAA hockey.
    That’s where he shines!

  68. Kay says:


    I sometimes work with the Wendy’s adoption people. It’s a foundation. They are frighteningly good at that job. They have color brochures and 60 page bound reports and they don’t talk to me in the elevator :)

    They come in pairs from Foundation Headquarters. It’s not all bad, fast food nation.

  69. some guy says:

    I am sorry someguy (oneword) feels that way. as an ex-Ice Cream scooper at Brigham’s I can attest to the horrific conditions of the fats food worker.

    solidarity with the General Counsel of the NLRB!

  70. PurpleGirl says:

    JMN: I know how you feel. I have nothing to say or advice to give. I’m surviving on a small inheritance until I’m ready for SS or I go get a job. But it’s been five years now and I have no idea what to do.

    IIRC, JMN went back to school for the accounting degree, so this is a career changed for him.

  71. Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Cassidy: That’s what accounting was supposed to be. I was an options trader but had to leave that after a complete nervous breakdown from job stress. It took me about 18 months to recover to the point that I could look for jobs. This pretty much encapsulates the fatal flaw that Corner Stone talks about even though he thinks it’s something else.

    So, when I found that no one wanted to hire someone who had been out of work for a year-and-a-half and didn’t have a really good explanation for that* I went back to school and started taking accounting classes. I got the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in accounting and passed the CPA exams. That didn’t help me get interviews so I went on the the Masters of Accountancy program (which I am always at pains to explain to people is not an MBA). I figured the program would be lousy, like pretty much everything else at the business school is but that I’d at least get to use the Placement Office.

    It turns out I had it backwards. The guy who runs the MAcc program at Minnesota is really good. I learned a lot. Unfortunately, the Placement Office was in the process of going through four directors in three years and was useless. They literally never posted any jobs for MAcc students in the year I was there.

    So when I got done with that, no one would hire me. The thing is, I really like accounting. It’s probably the autistic side of me talking but I enjoy it. But no one will hire me.

    *What, you think the truth would have helped?

  72. some guy says:

    Chipotle is decent food, and healthy, and the current owners bought out Mickey d’s interests. so too wioth countless Mom N Pop Inc outlets looking to expand. pay your workers a decent wage, don’t screw them, and prosper with a market hungry for good fast cheap

  73. Ruckus says:

    I was a salaried employee who traveled about 30 weeks a year and worked in the office the rest of the year. Many years no vacation due to the uniqueness of the job. And my boss turned from a heavy drinker to an outright alcoholic which only made it worse, laying off on me anything he didn’t want to do or yelling at me(literally, in the office) for doing things he told me to do. One of the very best days of my life was walking into the CEO’s office and giving notice. It was like an entire house was lifted off my shoulders. And of course I explained one of the reasons was my boss. He asked me if I had told my boss. My answer? Fuck him. Now I have a boss who tells me to stop working because it’s break time or lunch. Of course there has been a few issues in between the job that jumped head first into hell and today, but after the last ten years, landing in what looks to be my last job before retirement turns out to be great.
    As others have said you’ve talked about this before and we don’t know your entire situation but it sounds to me like a life change is due. Do you take the road you know, or do you take the other fork and at least see if that one is better? Sounds like it could be worse but why wait to find out?

  74. Corner Stone says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    This pretty much encapsulates the fatal flaw that Corner Stone talks about even though he thinks it’s something else.

    That’s simply not true.
    As I have told you before when this came up in past years, you’d prefer to be right than get hired. You’d rather argue with the HR or hiring manager about some small detail than give them what they need to hire someone.
    I work with, quote unquote “unusual” people all the time, all around the world.
    We just had a global call where one guy in Copenhagen refused to present any material to his people that was longer than one page. After we spent several hundred man hours taking input on it.
    Anyway, whatever.

  75. Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Does the MN DoR need people?

    FWIW, I tend to interview poorly. I come from a family tradition of not talking oneself up. When I try to do it in an interview, I tend to come off as stiff and uncomfortable.* I would not be surprised if you have similar problems but for different reasons. It doesn’t make it any easier, but still….

  76. Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Corner Stone:

    You’d rather argue with the HR or hiring manager about some small detail than give them what they need to hire someone.

    Uhm, no. I’ve never argued with anyone in HR. Even the woman at an insurance company who said they weren’t going to hire me because I was taking the actuarial exams and she thought that that’s what I really wanted to do rather than the position I was applying for. Which indicated that she had no idea what sort of company she worked for. But, no, I didn’t argue with her.

    You confuse what I say when I come on here to vent with what I say to people I talk to in the actual job search. And you are convinced that you have figured me out based upon that venting.

    In other words, you’re an asshole.

  77. Corner Stone says:


    And how are you so sure?

    Oh, I’m just bullshitting. I like to talk mess. Ask me about front and facing if you want to get me started.

  78. Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @WaterGirl: He does. Good days, bad days. He’s pretty much indifferent and goes at me every day. As I said, he’s just an asshole.

    Edit: Mostly I think he doesn’t care whether the people he decides to talk shit to enjoy it or not. He’d prefer it if they did but is going to be an asshole towards them regardless. His natural habitat is sports message boards and talk radio but he seems to have found a niche here.

  79. Ruckus says:

    Corner stone is an asshole. He/she likes to fuck with anyone, just for the thrill. A complete waste of protoplasm. That’s why I endorse cleek’s filter, it lowers my BP by at least 10 points, maybe 20 on bad days.

  80. Fair Economist says:

    Say “outsourcing” and Americans think of call centers in India or factories in China. But American workers increasingly are being forced to navigate a byzantine system of third-party contractors that leads to lower pay and fewer benefits.
    Call it “domestic outsourcing.”

    I call it outsourcing exploitation. It’s a widespread tactic in corporate America. Corporate American is brutally squeezing workers, as demonstrated by 40 years of increasing productivity without any real wage increases. But, in this era of viral media, they don’t want to take the PR hit. So they have franchisees or subcontractors or “independent” contractors or captive manufacturers. The company exploits its dependent companies, forcing them to exploit their own workers. But corporate can say its own hands are clean. Often the dependent companies know what’s going on, if they’re not blinded by ideology, but they can’t talk about it because to do so means their own financial destruction at the hands of the big corporation.

    Franchisees are a particularly egregious example of outsourcing exploitation. The franchiser sets the menu, the prices, the building code, and the supplier (itself), plus squeezing the franchisees for rich fees. There’s no way for the franchisees to make ends meet *except* by exploiting their workers. So they do.

  81. Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Ruckus: CS is is going to get pissy with me about this but fuck him anyway. CS is often an asshole, but CS does so love this song. I believe he has said it is his very fav.

  82. cckids says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Oh, hon. I’ve walked that road, again & again. Not the job part, but the despair. Find a reason to hang on. Pets, friends, family. That is all that’s kept me going at times.

    oh, and BTW, my son just got a job, in his field, even, after 3 years looking. Here’s hoping you have luck as well. Peace to you.

  83. eemom says:

    I used to work in franchise law. I hope the NLRB decision holds up in court, but I’m not optimistic, because (1) franchisees are independent business owners who contract with the franchisor to use its trademarks and business model in exchange for paying royalties, and although the franchisor does have “control” over the zee’s business to the extent of protecting its TM and associated goodwill, such doesn’t usually extend to controlling its employee relations; and (2) based on the article Kay linked, the basis for finding the requisite control to establish a “joint employer” situation under the existing precedent seems dubious in this case.

    But I defer to Corner Stone, who knows everything about lawyers, law, and all facts to which any law has ever related or upon which any lawyer has ever opined.

  84. Ruckus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):
    You must have lower standards for social standards than me if the enjoyment of a song is a deciding factor towards listening rather than ignoring. To each his own though, we all have to live somewhere along the line of human characteristics. Maybe having a more developed sense of the allowable makes you a better person, I just know where my level is. And it excludes CS.

  85. Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Corner Stone: I did it for you. You seem to want it. I posted it once as a joke punishment for someone. You have been continuously making references to it. So there is a more recent link for you. Enjoy.

  86. Corner Stone says:

    @Ruckus: Man, I hope whoever’s couch your bunking on these days isn’t kept awake by you clacking around on the keyboard.

  87. Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Ruckus: Despite being addressed to you, the comment was really addressed at CS’s penchant for referring to my use of that song as way of fucking with someone several weeks ago.

  88. Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    The other thing that Corner Stone keeps missing is that I’m autistic. One consequence of that is that it’s really easy to yank my chain. Making me react angrily really isn’t much of an accomplishment.

  89. Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @WaterGirl: CS is right that Iggy Azalea is basically a minstrel show performer. My links to her videos were not approving. And CS knows that.

    ETA: And the Garfunkel and Oates line is: Fuck me in the ass because I love Jesus. Just sayin’.

  90. Mandalay says:


    In Greece they’ve apparently progressed to shooting people that ask for back pay.

    It’s not that bad everywhere. Yesterday in England they progressed to charging a cop with murder for shooting a man in a car six times. OTOH, it did take them nine years to do it. Better late than never I guess.

  91. Mnemosyne (iPad Mini) says:

    I was going to comment, but once I saw we’d gotten to the Iggy Azalea point, I decided it was best to keep going. Time for Yoga for Colds (one of the Yogamazing video podcasts).

  92. Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @WaterGirl: Resumes are all on line these days an all about key words. They stick in a computer and it accepts the resume ONLY if it was the right words, then the HR dork looks at it, again checking for word salad and finally it gets to a manager.

  93. Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:


    Though the mills of God grind slowly,
    Yet they grind exceeding small;
    Though with patience he stands waiting,
    With exactness grinds he all.

    – Longfellow

  94. Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Mnemosyne (iPad Mini): CS tosses that in at any time of day. Don’t worry about it. OTOH, Kay already said she didn’t disagree with you so I am not sure who you get to fight with. Sorry.

  95. Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: One of the things that mystifies me about the job search/hiring process is that anyone actually thinks that this is a good way to go about it. Do they really think that a key word search increases the quality of a pool of resumes?

  96. Suffern ACE says:

    Can we just agree that Michelle Bachman isn’t presidential material and go back to being courteous?

  97. Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Suffern ACE: Wouldn’t we have had to be courteous at some point in the past in order to go back to it? Aren’t you really asking us to break new ground?

  98. WaterGirl says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Just seeing the title again made me laugh. I knew I hadn’t gotten it right in my reference, but I figured I would get close enough that you would know what I meant.

    I was afraid I would watch the whole thing again if I went to look for the video to check on my wording!

  99. Ruckus says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):
    Does anyone think that HR is there for any other reason than to give cover to management when they take advantage of employees?
    A personnel department was about people. Even if reality was different the name gave some insight into what the department was supposed to be about. Human resources is about using human beings, like you might find in a large modern corporation. IOW how to use the people with the smallest monetary outlay.

  100. Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Ruckus: It just seems to me that HR typically does a suboptimal job even at the tasks they are really supposed to be doing. Someone inserted them into the hiring process so you’d think that that someone would want them to do as good a job at hiring as possible. It just doesn’t seem that that’s the way it works in practice. HR seems to be evil as farce.

  101. WaterGirl says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): I’m sure he meant that in the nicest possible way!

    @Ruckus: For most of my years at the university, my college had a great personnel office with a great director. At some point they renamed it HR, pushed the good guy aside (he still got to work there but wasn’t in charge) and started screwing everyone.

    When people talked about HR as if they could go there to get help, I would say “HR is not your friend.”

  102. some guy says:

    “It’s worth listening carefully when Netanyahu speaks to the Israeli people. What is going on in Palestine today is not really about Hamas. It is not about rockets. It is not about “human shields” or terrorism or tunnels. It is about Israel’s permanent control over Palestinian land and Palestinian lives. That is what Netanyahu is really saying, and that is what he now admits he has “always” talked about. It is about an unswerving, decades-long Israeli policy of denying Palestine self-determination, freedom, and sovereignty.

    What Israel is doing in Gaza now is collective punishment. It is punishment for Gaza’s refusal to be a docile ghetto. It is punishment for the gall of Palestinians in unifying, and of Hamas and other factions in responding to Israel’s siege and its provocations with resistance, armed or otherwise, after Israel repeatedly reacted to unarmed protest with crushing force. Despite years of ceasefires and truces, the siege of Gaza has never been lifted.”

  103. Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): We should ask around the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and see if either side is willing to just up and move to North Dakota. It’d be an improvement on the current inhabitants.

    Edit: They’re less violence prone, among other benefits.

  104. ArchTeryx says:

    @WaterGirl: You’re telling me. I was nearly fired from two separate places entirely on HR’s say-so – they actually decided they had more authority then senior managers about what was a potential threat to the companies. I survived both times, only because said senior managers actually backed ME over HR, and properly smacked them down for abusing their authority. HR can get so full of themselves, they decide they ARE the law, Judge Dredd style.

  105. Mike J says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    CS is right that Iggy Azalea is basically a minstrel show performer.

    Is she trying to denigrate black culture in her performance? I’d call that a key part of minstrel shows. Maybe instead of being a minstrel you think she’s appropriating other cultures. Perhaps like most people under 40 she grew up with black culture being the dominant voice in entertainment, and that’s what she likes.

    When I saw Ice-T at the old 9:30, was my enjoyment cultural appropriation? When he came out for the second set with his hardcore band, was that?

    Charley Pride might want a word with you if you suggest that music should be segregated by style.

  106. Xenos says:

    @Fair Economist: Franchisors do not care about labor one way or another. The Franchisees are the true sucker and profit source (see, e.g., Krispy Kreme).

    The franchise marketing efforts do a good job at targeting the petty-bourgeois true believer in capitalism set. These people are squeezed out of their life savings and homes when businesses inevitably fail at a very high rate, and then blame themselves or their workers for the failure. The one thing the sucker/franchisee never will do is to find common cause with his workers against the franchisor, which is the one thing that would really turn the tables. They must be really good at screening people capable of this out of the process.

  107. Xenos says:

    @Mike J: Sounds like the Selah Sue case. Whether it appropriation or not has a lot to do with whether the work has anything good about it, and is respectful to its sources. Iggy just comes off as vulgar and minstrelsy to me, but this is a matter of taste.

  108. satby says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): I totally agree! I used to help people rewrite their resumes, but after I got laid off I paid a pro for a refresh, which I ended up editing myself. That was almost $200 down the tubes, and absolutely no interest generated in interviewing me for anything other than the field I can’t bear to go back to. But other people who got laid off about the same time as me don’t have jobs at all, I at least landed one at a way lower level.

  109. WaterGirl says:

    @Cervantes: Yes, it was.

    I cannot understand people who kick other people when they are down. I am reminded of what happened here shortly after Gabby Giffords was shot. As I recall, someone who was a friend of Gabby’s was here and was understandably upset, and some jackass was saying hurtful things.


  110. Steve Finlay says:

    @WaterGirl: I’ve worked in big companies since 1985. I have always said that as soon as the personnel department changes its name to Human Resources, it becomes completely evil. Everything that Catbert does really happens.

  111. Steve Finlay says:

    Kay says “There’s a huge imbalance of power operating here.” Here are the words of someone who recognized this same reality:

    “What are the common wages of labour, depends everywhere upon the contract usually made between those two parties, whose interests are by no means the same. The workmen desire to get as much, the masters to give as little, as possible. The former are disposed to combine in order to raise, the latter in order to lower, the wages of labour.

    It is not, however, difficult to foresee which of the two parties must, upon all ordinary occasions, have the advantage in the dispute, and force the other into a compliance with their terms. The masters, being fewer in number, can combine much more easily: and the law, besides, authorises, or at least does not prohibit, their combinations, while it prohibits those of the workmen. We have no acts of parliament against combining to lower the price of work, but many against combining to raise it. In all such disputes, the masters can hold out much longer. A landlord, a farmer, a master manufacturer, or merchant, though they did not employ a single workman, could generally live a year or two upon the stocks, which they have already acquired. Many workmen could not subsist a week, few could subsist a month, and scarce any a year, without employment. In the long run, the workman may be as necessary to his master as his master is to him; but the necessity is not so immediate.

    We rarely hear, it has been said, of the combinations of masters, though frequently of those of workmen. But whoever imagines, upon this account, that masters rarely combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject. Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform, combination, not to raise the wages of labour above their actual rate. To violate this combination is everywhere a most unpopular action, and a sort of reproach to a master among his neighbours and equals. We seldom, indeed, hear of this combination, because it is the usual, and, one may say, the natural state of things, which nobody ever hears of. Masters, too, sometimes enter into particular combinations to sink the wages of labour even below this rate. These are always conducted with the utmost silence and secrecy till the moment of execution; and when the workmen yield, as they sometimes do without resistance, though severely felt by them, they are never heard of by other people. Such combinations, however, are frequently resisted by a contrary defensive combination of the workmen, who sometimes, too, without any provocation of this kind, combine, of their own accord, to raise tile price of their labour. Their usual pretences are, sometimes the high price of provisions, sometimes the great profit which their masters make by their work. But whether their combinations be offensive or defensive, they are always abundantly heard of. In order to bring the point to a speedy decision, they have always recourse to the loudest clamour, and sometimes to the most shocking violence and outrage. They are desperate, and act with the folly and extravagance of desperate men, who must either starve, or frighten their masters into an immediate compliance with their demands. The masters, upon these occasions, are just as clamorous upon the other side, and never cease to call aloud for the assistance of the civil magistrate, and the rigorous execution of those laws which have been enacted with so much severity against the combination of servants, labourers, and journeymen. The workmen, accordingly, very seldom derive any advantage from the violence of those tumultuous combinations, which, partly from the interposition of the civil magistrate, partly from the superior steadiness of the masters, partly from the necessity which the greater part of the workmen are under of submitting for the sake of present subsistence, generally end in nothing but the punishment or ruin of the ringleaders.”

    Which radical left-wing extremist wrote this, and when? Adam Smith, in An Inquiry into the Nature And Causes of the Wealth of Nations, in 1776.

  112. danah gaz says:

    The cynic in me worries that fast food will become one of the only avenues for a union position, aside from grocery stores and government, and that this is somehow by design.

    I fully admit I am probably just being paranoid.

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