In a much-anticipated decision, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) yesterday declared war on small businesses across the country and on the franchise industry in particular by upholding the new expanded definition of joint-employer. By a partisan vote of 3-2, the full Board ruled that Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI) was a joint employer along with a third party contractor that contracted with BFI to provide laborers. As a result of the decision, BFI must negotiate with the Teamsters Union on behalf of the employees of one of their separate third party contractors! The ruling is especially significant for the franchise industry in light of a separate case the NLRB is litigating against McDonalds and several of their franchisees. In addition, the new standard potentially means that employees of an individual franchisee could force corporate franchisors to negotiate collective bargaining agreements with a franchise’s employees – and the franchise owner would be stuck with the agreement!