Subway reaches labor deal with regulators

Nation's Restaurant News discusses the National Labor Relation Board's joint employer standard with Trey Kovacs. 

Trey Kovacs, a policy analyst for the free-market policy group the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said in an interview that one provision in the Subway agreement is “eerily similar” to a provision the NLRB targeted in calling McDonald’s a joint employer.

That part of the agreement involves Subway using technology to help franchisees comply with labor laws. The NLRB used McDonald’s software making recommendations on wages and hour and on hiring and firing as evidence of its role in its franchisees’ employment decisions.

The NLRB has said little since its ruling in the case against Browning-Ferris Industries last year established a new joint-employer standard, Kovacs said. That has made the environment for franchisors and other companies uncertain — meaning even well intentioned steps like this one could be seen by the board as evidence the company exerts some control over franchisees’ workers.

“What the agreement with the Department of Labor does is it forces Subway to exert more control over franchisees,” Kovacs said. “It’s very possible the kind of control their taking” could leave it vulnerable to the joint-employer standard.

Read the full article at Nation's Restaurant News.