(WORT)–When your neighborhood McDonald’s violates labor law, can the parent corporation be held responsible? When workers demand better working conditions at a Taco Bell, can the store manager make that call without consulting “corporate” first?
At the heart of questions like these is the contested nature of the franchisee-franchisor relationship. Last August, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that both local shops and parent corporations in a franchise have responsibilities–and liabilities–as employers.
But that ruling didn’t go over well with many big business interests who argue it reverses decades of legal precedent.
In recent months, five states, including Wisconsin, have passed laws contradicting the NLRB decision, and several others have similar legislation in the works.
Last December, Wisconsin lawmakers introduced what has been dubbed the “Franchise Protection Act,” and they passed it quickly and quietly in early February. Governor Scott Walker signed the bill into law on March 1st.
WORT’s Darien Lamen talks with Paul Secunda, Professor and Director of the Labor and Employment Law Program at Marquette University Law School, about this largely overlooked new law, and whether it is likely to stand up to challenge.