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National Restaurant Association - Former NLRB member: “Joint employer” ruling eliminates jobs

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Former NLRB member: “Joint employer” ruling eliminates jobs

The recent decision by the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel to consider McDonald’s and its franchisees as “joint employers” in a series of labor practice complaints could have severe, negative consequences across industries and discourage people from purchasing franchises, according to former NLRB member Peter Kirsanow.

The NLRB’s December actions, which overturned 30 years of established law by holding franchisors responsible for the labor practices of their franchisees, could ultimately result in less independence for franchise owners and fewer jobs being created, Kirsanow, a labor attorney who serves on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, wrote in an op-ed for Investors.com.

“As a former member of the National Labor Relations Board, I am a firm believer in the agency's mission to safeguard the rights of employees, remedy unfair labor practices and interpret the law as it applies to private-sector employers and unions,” Kirsanow wrote. “Today, the impartial balance that is supposed to guide the agency's practices has been replaced with an overreaching agenda clearly tilted to favor the interests of organized labor. Sadly, the board's recent actions don't protect the jobs of employees — they eliminate them.”

Established law, which the NLRB is trying to overturn with its actions, requires that both employers have responsibility for matters directly related to employment of an individual, such as hiring, firing, supervision and discipline in order to be considered joint employers. The National Restaurant Association opposes the NLRB’s actions, which threaten the franchise business model and have the potential to affect many of the restaurants in the U.S.

The NLRB's actions in the cases involving McDonalds are the first step in an anticipated ruling that addresses the board’s treatment of joint employers. A decision is expected soon in a case brought by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters against Browning-Ferris Industries that will determine whether a staffing agency can be considered a joint employer. The NRA filed an amicus brief in that case urging the NLRB to preserve the settled joint-employer standard that properly treats franchisees as independent business owners.

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