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California lawmakers bring back franchise relations bill

NRN

California lawmakers have reintroduced legislation designed to protect franchise operators from what some describe as predatory practices by franchisors.

Assembly bill 525, introduced April 6, is a modified version of Senate Bill 610, which was approved by state lawmakers in August 2014 but was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown. The bill attempted to redefine the conditions for termination, renewal or transfer of franchised businesses.

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Survey: Franchisees struggle to make a living

NRN

More than half of franchisees struggle to make a decent living, and nearly two-thirds wouldn’t recommend investing in their franchise system, according to a new survey sponsored by a coalition of unions pushing to reform the franchise business model.

In addition, 42 percent of franchisees surveyed were dissatisfied with their franchise system.

The survey was conducted for the coalition Change to Win by FranchiseGrade.com, which surveyed more than 1,100 operators over a one-month period in February and March.

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McDonald’s to Franchisee: “Just pay your employees less”

The Washington Post

The fast-food industry has become the face of the minimum wage battle. At McDonald’s, that struggle has become even complicated. Franchisees, too, often feel that following all the company’s rules and paying all its fees leaves little leftover for them, let alone their employees.

Kathryn Slater-Carter, who owns a McDonalds in Daly City, Calif., with her husband, is one of the few to have spoken up publicly — and spearheaded legislation now before the California Assembly, which is also backed by the Service Employees International Union, that would give franchisees more rights. Here’s her story, lightly edited for clarity and length.

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The NLRB-McDonald’s ruling could be the beginning of a franchise war

Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times

It has been accurately observed that a single sentence in a terse ruling issued last week by the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board has the potential to bring U.S. labor law into sync with the 21st century.

The ruling involves at least 43 labor violation cases filed against McDonald’s since November 2012. (Another 64 are pending.) In those 43 cases, the general counsel ruled that it will treat McDonald’s as the workers’ “joint employer,” along with its franchisees. They can be judged jointly accountable for workplace conditions.

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Leveling the Playing Field With the Likes of McDonald’s

Kathryn Carter, The Left Hook

Last Sunday at 7pm, the small business my family spent 30 years building was taken away from us. We lost our retirement security, dozens of our employees lost their jobs, and the government lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenue when McDonald’s forced us to close our franchised restaurant. McDonald’s says it did not renew our franchise agreement because we did not attend corporate meetings, even though I was at nearly every one. But I think our restaurant’s closing had something to do with my public support for reform to put fairness into the franchise system, which the company opposes.

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Changes urged in the franchise system

Jaspreet Dhillon, Capitol Weekly

I’ve spent years building my business, pouring countless hours and nearly everything I have into making it work. But because I own a franchise, my family’s livelihood and my employees’ jobs could be taken away on a whim, and there’s little I could do about it. I am not alone. There are more than 80,000 franchised enterprises in California, employing nearly a million people. Increasingly franchise owners are seeing our rights slip away as lopsided franchise agreements protect the interests of multi-national franchisors rather than small business owners.

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