JCN CEO In the News: NLRB and Franchisees

Posted on October 21, 2014 by Kathy Hoekstra

Stephen Bienko, of College Hunks Hauling Junk joins other JCN CEO leaders in speaking out against a controversial NLRB legal opinion that could destroy the franchise business model.

This Sunday, the Telegram.com (Worcester, MA) newspaper posted an extensive article on the controversial recommendation by the National Labor Relations Board to force individual franchise business owners to become co-owned by their corporate parents, when it comes to labor complaints.

The piece featured remarks from JCNF CEO leader Stephen Bienko, speaking out against the opinion:

“Stephen Bienko, who owns two Boston-area franchises of College Hunks Hauling Junk and College Hunks Moving (he covers 15 territories overall) and later this month will be on the other end of franchising, hoping to lease out the franchising rights to his new company, BinIt.

This opinion, if extended to all franchises, will make it significantly more difficult for people to start their own business.

“What that means is the cost of one lawsuit against one franchise may be spread across the other franchises or the franchiser,” Mr. Bienko said. Under the current system, he said, a hypothetical slip-and-fall outside of a McDonald’s would lead to the victim dealing directly with that individual franchise owner.

“In order to protect themselves … the franchiser is going to have to increase their costs to franchisees. They’re looking at it as one entity,” he asserted.

If the NLRB opinion becomes widespread practice or eNational_Labor_Relations_Board_logo_-_colorven case law, he said, it will significantly “uproot the system” that provides 18 million jobs per year and employs millions of people receiving government assistance.”

Bienko is the latest of several JCNF CEO leaders who are defending economic freedom in the public arena. JCNF co-founder Bernie Marcus said in an October 1 Huffington Post op-ed that this rule, if eventually adopted, threatens an entire American tradition that supports more than 750,000 franchised businesses and 18 million jobs:

“Money will go missing from employees’ paychecks, directed to a union they didn’t vote for that does little or nothing to raise their wages. Franchise ownership, a path to the American dream for aspiring entrepreneurs for over 50 years, will be cut off. Young jobseekers without work experience will find fewer entry-level opportunities at their local restaurant. In the end, only big unions benefit from this scheme.”

And in the National Review Online,  JCNF CEO leader, Mike Leven, President and COO of Las Vegas Sands along with Lee Habeeb stressed particular harm to minority franchise owners :

“Who will suffer the most? The little guy and gal, including over 200,000 minority-owned franchises. One out of every five franchise owners is a member of a racial minority, employing many more minority employees and often doing that employing in minority communities.”

While the NLRB considers whether this rule should be enshrined into policy, it can expect a heavy court battle from McDonalds – the primary subject of that recommendation.

In the meantime, JCNF believes a well-informed public is the best defense against bad public policy. This is why JCNF will relentlessly continue its vigilance in defending economic freedom and the American Dream.