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Judge orders owner of a local McDonald’s to return workers to work, provide compensation

An administrative law judge of the National Labor Relations Board found owner George Michell used pandemic layoffs as a way to get rid of four workers who were fighting for better working conditions and a union along interstate service plazas across Connecticut.

News 12 Staff

Dec 31, 2021, 6:55 PM

Updated 905 days ago

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A judge has ordered the owner of a local McDonald’s to allow his employees to return to work and provide them compensation for back wages and other losses.
An administrative law judge of the National Labor Relations Board found owner George Michell used pandemic layoffs as a way to get rid of four workers who were fighting for better working conditions and a union along interstate service plazas across Connecticut. 
After the March 2020 pandemic shutdown, Mario Franco, Rosa Franco (no relation), Pilar Mestanza and Milagros Vasquez, who worked at the Darien service plaza, were never called back to work. 
During the trial, evidence was shown regarding “management’s animus toward unionization and monitor workers, at time with the email support of McDonald’s corporate PR and government relations teams.” 
This is not the first time Michell has had to compensate workers. In October, workers Itamar Contreras, Andrea Hernandez and Besly Paul were awarded $30,000 in back pay in a settlement with Michell Enterprises. 
Rochelle Palache, vice president of 32BJ SEIU, says the deicision shows how fast food outlets have used the pandemic as a way “to attack fair pay, basic benefits and workers’ protected right to form a union.” 
Franco, who has worked at the Darien service plaza for more than 20 years, is happy with the result. 
“After all the struggles we’ve gone through, I’m so glad that the justice we’ve always desired is finally starting to arrive,” says Franco. “I believe together we can make this new year the one where we win new union membership for all.” 


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