Franchise Owners Unite to Fight Corporate Control

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Aug. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Robert Branca, vice chairman at Coalition of Franchisee Associations, talks with Betty Liu about the National Labor Relations Board decision on the relationship between a corporation and franchise owners. He speaks on “In The Loop.”

It true, your family owns more than 700 dunkin' donuts?

Good morning, betty.

Yes.

Many of us, brothers, sisters, cousins, espouses.

A huge number of people.

It is a family business.

[laughter] all right.

Very much so.

Robert, how do you feel about this labor force decision -- are you incensed by it?

It is only the opinion of their general counsel.

It has a long way to go.

Would it seeks to do is change a decade-long legal standard about what an employer is, and the standard was in place to avoid having people classify -- ms.

Classify to employees as independent contractors, and it confuses the complex nature of franchising, which, if you are outside of our world, it can look like another planet.

Why?

Give me one reason why.

Works well, franchising covers many industries, and mcdonald's is different than dunkin' donuts, for example.

Mcdonald's is as much in the real estate business as they are the burgers and fries business, whereas at dunkin' donuts, we own all real estate, we develop it, we control construction.

All of the development is ours.

The distribution the supply chain -- we are spots before all of that.

Robert, well, i am curious, are your margins -- you know, better at dunkin' donuts and they are and mcdonald's? excited not know what their margins are, and again, our business -- i do not know what their margins are, but again, our businesses, every store is different.

Our shops are different than others.

They are different in our industry and that is why you see multi-unit owners, to expand our ability to make a living and provide for the next generation, we open more units.

This is what i want people to understand about why this is such a controversial issue -- i can understand why franchisees do not want any more control from the head corporate office -- they want to run their own business, the mcdonald's franchisees say they are operating on razor thin margins, and they get told already too much by mcdonald's what to do, and you know about this case, catherine slater-carter in california, trying to push this bill through to get more freedom to get out from under mcdonald's, and she wrote this piece that i will quote it quickly -- if workers unionize, the biggest negative effect would be that corporations, the big guys, could not suck as money off the top.

I have mixed emotions on unions, i think union benefits are sometimes over the top, but the little people are getting screwed.

How do you feel?

I would disagree with that, and i can speak to our system and some of the other systems that are members of our association.

That probably is not true for us , but this and rrb ruling is -- nlrb ruling is about getting members.

For sieiu, if they were able to unionize, they would have $850 million in dues they do not have now.

It is about the money and the business model, and i'm not saying that the union is good or bad.

If you are a coal miner, you probably need a union.

Whether or not one shot as opposed to another shop needs to be unionized because of working conditions, i do not know, but again, it is a workplace by workplace model to organize a workforce.

And it has been hard for them.

Yeah, it attempts to change the law to make their job easier than it has historically been.

That makes me wonder if it is so difficult to organize these workforces, perhaps because the workers are not interested, and the ones that are, they should be able to organize into a union.

Then, of course, the si -- seiu would say they are, but it is a big process going to restaurants to restaurant to coalesce workers, then you could do if they were in fact under one about.

Robert, there is so much more to this story.

We will bring you back on.

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.

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