Over the course of the past year, the franchising industry has been faced with unprecedented levels of uncertainty. Between the 2016 presidential election and issues like overtime and minimum wage on the table, franchisors made it a priority to advocate on behalf of the industry.
Ciara Stockeland, the founder of the designer outlet franchise MODE®, is one of franchising’s most vocal supporters. She even testified before the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship earlier this year with the Coalition to Save Local Business to educate government officials on the impact that the National Labor Relations Board’s new joint employer standard has on franchise brands. During this week’s Social Geek Radio podcast, she explains to hosts Jack Monson and Deb Evans why she decided to get involved.
“I think often small business owners, entrepreneurs, we’re just so busy trying to make our business succeed. And our noses are down, and we’re working so hard, and we forget to look up and think about how we can advocate for small business,” said Stockeland. “So when I was approached by the Coalition, just to see if I would have an interest in being a member, I said absolutely.”
Stockeland continued to explain her concerns with the joint employer standard as a franchisor. Under the new ruling, franchisors and franchisees can share the ability to govern workers’ terms and conditions of employment. But the franchising industry is concerned that will ultimately undermine the basis of its business model.
Stockeland said, “When I decided to build a brand, I wanted individual business owners in their communities to have the opportunity to open a store and then to run and manage their own teams, their own employees. That’s their business. And if I wanted the liability of being a company owned retail concept I would have gone a different route than franchising.” She continued, “For me, when I look at the reason that I franchised in the first place, and now to think that possibly I’m going to be liable as a franchisor for employees that I’ve never met, I certainly haven’t hired, I haven’t trained them, they don’t belong to me—those are the employees of my franchisees—that’s really frightening when I think about growing.”
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