Workers in Pennsylvania who belong to unions typically have higher wages, significantly better benefits, and more workplace protections. Those who are not allowed to unionize often suffer from low compensation as a direct result. Now, the National Labor Relations Board is attempting to rectify the situation for employees of franchisees and other facilities that are controlled indirectly by a parent company.
The NLRB’s recent ruling states that a large corporation that retains a certain amount of control over its franchises may be considered a joint employer. As such, the corporation would no longer be able to simply shut down a franchise if the employees there were trying to form a union. In the past, corporations used this method to prevent franchise employees from unionizing and therefore having to negotiate with them. Supporters of the ruling believe that this will make it easier for the employees to form a union.
The corporation could also be held responsible for worker conditions within the franchises, even if it does not actively manage those employees. The joint employer classification could be proved if the corporation requires the franchisee to use scheduling software or controls the amount of money that employees are allowed to make. Those opposed to the ruling will probably ask Congress to reverse it.
When employers do not provide their workers with the hourly pay and benefits that allow them to have a reasonable standard of living, the employees should have the right to negotiate, according to the NLRB. If you are working for a company that denies your employee rights, you may benefit from the advice of an attorney who is familiar with employment law and the rulings of federal agencies such as the NLRB and the U.S. Department of Labor.
Source: New York Times, “Labor Board Ruling Eases Way for Fast-Food Unions’ Efforts,” by Noam Scheiber and Stephanie Strom, Aug. 27, 2015