The National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) ruling that McDonalds is a “joint employer” of all of the employees of its franchisees has taken the next step in the process. The Service Employees Union (SEUI) has forced the issue by saying that McDonalds and its franchisees have engaged in anti-union activity. Although no one wants to say it yet but an administrative ruling would most likely allow the union to force union membership on every employee of every franchisee in the United States.
The battle has now gone to a series of three administrative hearings run by the NRLB. Opposition to this ruling has come from the International Franchise Association, BNA, and the US Chamber of Commerce. This is a serious threat to the whole concept of franchising and although there are many steps franchisors can take protect their systems it still could lead to expensive litigation that could force union membership on millions of workers. Right to Work laws at the state level help in some states but using the joint employer theory is a big reach that if enacted would be something to shake franchising which is 14% of the US private economy and growing faster than the over all economy.
At the same time the SEUI has bankrolled the “Fight for $15” demonstration to put more pressure on franchisors and attempt to add credibility to their efforts.
For those of us that are slightly paranoid this whole thing smells of payback to the unions. With union membership dropping dramatically this would give the unions a chance regain membership despite the job losses it would cause. It is important to remember in this that it all started with the NRLB board being appointed while congress was still in session but under a provision that allows the President to make appointments when Congress is not in session. That gave the board a union controlled membership and now it is time for the unions to collect on all their campaign support dollars.
Keep an eye on these hearings.

This is your look at issues in franchising with facts and opinions by Jack Eberenz. If someone says “franchising” you say “call Jack”. ™
Jack Eberenz, jack@franway.com, 602-625-5106

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