Ellen Rosenblum, Oregon’s attorney general, has joined her counterparts in nine other states and the District of Columbia in their effort to investigate the hiring practices of fast-food franchises. The AGs are looking into no-poaching agreements that generally prevent one Burger King, for example, from hiring workers at another Burger King.
That kind of agreement, the attorneys general argue, makes it difficult for workers at what’s arguably the low end of the wage scale to advance or find better hours, and the practice should be stopped. We agree.
The practice drew the attention of attorneys general, the U.S. Department of Justice and Democratic members of Congress after a study released last year said the practice might help explain why wages have remained low even as the economy has grown stronger.
Eight fast-food companies, including Arby’s, Burger King, Five Guys Burgers, Little Caesars, and Wendy’s — all with stores in Central Oregon — will be asked to turn over information about any no-poaching agreements. Other stores involved include Panera, Dunkin’ Donuts and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen.
Such agreements apparently are common among franchise food businesses. As many as 80 percent of fast food franchise companies include no-poaching rules, according to the Chicago Tribune. The agreements can create real problems for fast food workers. They can stop people from moving and getting better pay, better hours or a better commute. They also make advancement within a franchise difficult. End it.