SEATTLE, WA – Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Thursday he has brokered a deal with seven nationwide chains to remove so-called burger-joint clauses in contracts. The deal affects workers at some 25,000 restaurants across the U.S., Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico.
The deal comes after Ferguson launched an anti-trust investigation into the clauses in Washington state in early 2018. Some fast food chain franchise contracts forbid employees from moving to a job at another fast-food restaurant – a practice that can prevent workers from landing higher-paying jobs.
“Companies must compete for workers just like they compete for customers,” Ferguson said in a statement. “They cannot manipulate the market to keep wages low. My goal is to un-rig a system that suppresses wages in the fast food industry.”
The chains that will no longer use burger-joint clauses include: McDonalds; Carl’s Jr.; Buffalo Wild Wings; Arby’s; Auntie Annie’s; Cinnabon; and Jimmy John’s.
Ferguson said the restaurant chains preferred to eliminate the burger-joint clause from franchise agreements rather than face a lawsuit. The chains will remove the language from new franchise contracts going forward, and will eliminate the clause in existing franchise contracts as they come up for renewal.
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