More West Coast Movement on Fair Franchising – Although it is not yet over, good news continues to stream out of California on the Fair Franchising initiative. This week, the California Assembly’s Committee on the Judiciary approved the bill on a 7-2 vote with one member absent and not voting. The bill has now been sent to the Assembly’s Committee on Business, Professions and Consumer Protectionwhere it will again be the subject of a hearing, most likely on July 2!
Tip Pooling Up for Hearing in MA – Up for hearing this week is DDIFO’s Tip Pooling bill in Massachusetts. The issue, which has been around the state house for the past few years, will be heard by the legislature’s Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development Tuesday morning. The bill (H.1718) seeks to clarify ambiguities in existing law, which have exposed franchisees to significant legal risk in a number of class action lawsuits.
Tip pooling at the national level was addressed when a US Department of Labor (USDOL) regulation governing aspects of the issue was struck down last week by a federal district court in Oregon. The case stems from a challenge to the regulation that was initiated by the National Restaurant Association and other industry groups back in 2011. Essentially, the regulation governed tip pooling even in cases where no tip pooling credit was claimed by the employer and the court therefore ruled the regulation exceeded USDOL’s authority. It’s anticipated the Department of Labor will appeal it.
McLawsuits Over Pay – Out of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania this week we read that a lawsuit was filed in Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas by a former employee of a McDonalds franchisee who paid employees with a debit card rather than a traditional paycheck! The suit alleges that when all the fees associated with the debit card were taken into account, the employee was actually being paid less that the state’s minimum wage of $7.25/hour. In addition, Pennsylvania law gives employees the right to choose whether they are paid by debit card, paycheck or another method.
Franchise Hiring Spikes! – A recent study by ADP and Moody’s Analytics published a report at the International Franchise Expo in New York that found that franchises had created just over 19,000 jobs in May, about 14,000 of which were in the restaurant industry! The release of the study prompted speculation as to the reason for the restaurant industry growth with one contention being that the impending implementation of Obama Care is forcing restaurant franchisees to employ more people on a part-time (under 30 hours/week) basis so as to avoid some of the more onerous provisions.
More Hiring Problems – It was widely reported this week that two independent 7-11 Franchisees were indicted in federal court as a result of illegal hiring practices. The franchisees are accused of smuggling workers into the country.
Timely Discussion! – When we consider some of these stories about how employees are paid, whether tips can be pooled and shared with back of the store personnel, the hiring of more employees on a part-time basis, it seems to underscore the timeliness of the subjects DDIFO will be addressing next week at our Connecticut/New York meeting on Wednesday, June 26 at the Heritage Hotel and Conference Center in Southbury, Connecticut. Employment and labor law issues will be addressed by Attorney Hugh F. Murray,a partner in the Hartford office of the major law firm of Murtha Culina LLP, and the implementation of Obama Care – what you can and cannot do – will be the subject of the presentation of Tax Attorney Matt Kelley of Ernst & Young. Timely topics against the backdrop of these issues!
DDIFO National Conference – DDIFO staff was in Atlantic City for a number of meetings to firm up planning and events associated with the 2013 DDIFO National Conferenced this September 16 – 18 at Caesar’s Atlantic City. We have confirmed that the Welcome Reception will be held at the exquisite Mia Restaurant, just off the main hotel lobby. The food is exceptional and the ambiance will be perfect for our franchisees to meet up and renew acquaintances! We have also confirmed that all DDIFO events will be held in the Palladium Ballroom, so you will not need to worry about missing where particular programs will be held! Lastly, we’re working with the Convention and Visitors Authority as well as Caesar’s hotel staff to ensure that attendees have everything necessary to thoroughly enjoy the 2013 DDIFO National Conference in Atlantic City, NJ, September 16 through 18, 2013! Registration materials will be coming soon!
CFA Lobby Day Forum – The Coalition of Franchisee Associations (CFA) Lobby Day Forum in Washington DC is just a couple of weeks away! The two-day conference with visits to Congress to discuss issues of import to the franchisee community will be July 8 through July 10 at the Fairmont Hotel in the District’s Georgetown section.
Competitor News – Starbucks is joining the list of companies now including menu board and calorie labeling signage in their stores. The company announced this week that new labeling will launch on June 25 at company owned and licensed stores. In addition, the company yesterday announced that they are again raising their prices on coffee by another 1%!