McDonald’s unfair to union staffer: Judge

A Moscow court ruled yesterday that McDonald’s improperly disciplined an employee, a decision that could be a boost to workers seeking to unionize the company’s factory outside Moscow.

The Toronto Star
October 17, 2000

McDonald’s unfair to union staffer: Judge

MOSCOW (AP) – A Moscow court ruled yesterday that McDonald’s improperly disciplined an employee, a decision that could be a boost to workers seeking to unionize the company’s factory outside Moscow.

A small group of McDonald’s workers at the ‘McComplex’ food-processing plant alleged that McDonald’s blocked its attempts to unionize and harassed its members. It said that current case was only the latest example of an anti-union stance criticized by Russian labour groups and Moscow’s city government.

The city owns 20 per cent of the McDonald’s operation.

Yevgeny Druzhinin, a forklift operator at McComplex elected to the ruling body of the factory’s small union last year, had been reprimanded for ruining two batteries, a charge he denied.

“Once I joined the union, the administration just started attacking me,” Druzhinin said.

It was the sixth time in the past year Druzhinin had been disciplined. He maintained all the reprimands were attempts by the company to intimidate him and force him to quit the union.

Druzhinin maintained that, as an elected member of the ruling body of the union, the company had no right to discipline him without union permission, as Russia’s worker-friendly labour code prescribes. He also said there was not proof he did anything wrong.

McDonald’s argued the union, which claims 18 of the factory’s more than 400 workers as members, lacked official status and the company was within its rights to discipline him.

Druzhinin has said that is absurd because Natalya Gracheva, a security guard at the plant for a decade, founded the union when pay and work hours slid after Russia’s 1998 economic crash.

Judge Tatiana Fedosova did not explain her decision, saying only that McDonald’s was wrong to discipline Druzhinin.

McDonald’s lawyers refused to discuss the case or say whether they would appeal.

Labour groups said the ruling and the city’s pro-union stance might push McDonald’s to recognize the union.

The Russians earn about 15 rubles an hour, enough to buy one Big Mac every two hours. McDonald’s staff in Germany make three times as much.

The company has kept unions out of its 13,000 U.S. restaurants.

Two Grade 12 students in Squamish, B.C., worked with the Canadian Auto Workers to organize the first McDonald’s in North America in August of 1998 but workers a year later voted to decertify the union. A new bid by a Quebec union to organize a Montreal franchise was launched in August.


Brought to you by WikidFranchise.org

Risks: Unionization, Intimidation, Retaliation, Bully, Unions hold management accountable, Unionization is a constitutional right, Russia, 20001017 McDonald’s unfair

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License