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For Amir Siddiqi, a Pakistani immigrant who owns 38 Carl’s Jr. stores, franchising allows him to be an independent business owner:
There are certain standards for brand consistency, but how I comply is up to me. I set prices, pick new restaurant sites, negotiate the leases and invest my own capital in buildings and equipment. I manage every aspect of day-to-day restaurant operations. I choose whom to hire, the wages and benefits employees are paid, the way employees are monitored and evaluated, and the circumstances under which they’re promoted, disciplined or fired.
Each store’s general manager and I decide how many people we need working in the restaurants and at what times: who cooks, who runs the register, who delivers the food, who mops the floor and who takes out the trash. This can vary widely based on a number of factors, including each employee’s experience, the level of business in the restaurant at the time, and the general manager’s management style. The point is that my franchiser has nothing to do with these decisions. Nothing.
But the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) threatens that independence by seeking to destroy franchising as a successful business model for Saddiqi and millions of other franchisees by declaring franchisees to be “joint employers” with franchisors. This would make franchises easier to unionize.
As Siddiqi explains, if the NLRB succeeds, how he runs his stores will dramatically change:
[M]y franchiser might feel the need to protect itself from liability by exerting control over my employment decisions. Perhaps my franchiser will want to review every job applicant and compensation package before I can make someone an offer. My franchiser might feel that it needs to be present in my restaurants to monitor the workplace, dictate or even administer employee training, and increase staffing as it, rather than my general managers and I, deem necessary.
Entrepreneurs like Saddiqi don’t deserve to be sacrificed as a gift to the NLRB’s union friends.