Fast Food Workers Plan Another Round of Coordinated Protests this Week



Employers at fast food chains around the nation should brace themselves for a series of protests and acts of civil disobedience that will occur this Thursday, September 4.  The strikes, organized by members of the “Fight for 15″ movement, are part of the nationwide crusade to raise the minimum wage. The Fight for 15 organization carried out a similar campaign to raise wages last spring. There are few details on the nature of the protests that will reportedly occur in as many as 150 cities across the country.

Such organized and concerted efforts are part of a broader trend to effectuate changes to wages and working conditions outside of the traditional labor union construct. For example, so-called “worker centers”– otherwise known as union front organizations (UFOs) – are increasing in number, and working in conjunction with unions to achieve typical labor organization goals.  UFOs are generally non-profit organizations offering a variety of services to their members, including worker advocacy, lobbying, employment services, and legal advice.  The Fight for 15 movement has union support, particularly from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).  Last year, the AFL-CIO vowed to work with such labor offshoots.

Employers must be careful not to interfere with employees’ lawful Fight for 15 activities.  Under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”), employees have the protected right to engage in concerted activity for the purpose of mutual aid and protection.  These rights apply to both union and non-union employees.   Concerted activity includes individual employees seeking to initiate group action, or a group of employees trying to bring group complaints to management, regarding employment related concerns.  Any adverse employment action taken in response to an employee’s participation in Fight for 15 could be an unfair labor practice if it interferes with, coerces, or restrains the employee’s rights guaranteed by Section 7 of the NLRA. Remedies for unfair labor practices include reinstatement with full back pay and interest.  Employers also are required to post a notice to all employees outlining the NLRA violation and the remedy.

Meanwhile, in a round of Labor Day speeches, President Obama and Labor Secretary Perez reiterated their support to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. At least 13 states and the District of Columbia have increased their minimum wages in recent months, and a handful of states and localities have placed the question of whether to raise the minimum wage on the November ballot.  It is expected that issues such as income inequality and wage theft will be key talking points for many Democrats going into the November elections.

Franchise Relations Dialogue’s New Series Has Answers

Two weeks ago you were urged to beat the deadline to get in your questions for a new “Ask the Expert” series on the Franchise Relations Dialogue forum of IFA’s member-only community FranSocial. The first expert, Dwyer Group Executive Chairwoman Dina Dwyer-Owens, CFE, has responded to those questions.  Dwyer-Owens is a former IFA chairwoman with more than 30 years of industry experience. The final questions were selected by the IFA Franchise Relations Committee’s Knowledge Share Task Force after sorting and combining all the questions.

Readers gain not only from her answers to the 10 questions that include such areas as leadership, political challenges, compliance and balancing franchisee and end users’ needs, but immediate follow-up questions that help add even more dimension to the exchanges.

For example, when it comes to addressing leadership and smoothing the transition when the founder is no longer leading the organization, Dwyer-Owens responds:  “Never lose sight of where you came from.”  She adds that “it is often necessary to gut out difficult times and even stand by decisions that, at the time, may not be popular.”

What is the most important question to end-user customers according to Dwyer-Owens? “How likely are you to refer us to a friend or family member?”  She explains:  “The answer to this question tells us how well our franchisees are performing on a daily basis, which validates the effectiveness of many of the programs that we are focused on. As it relates to marketing, we have numerous ways that we measure effectiveness depending on the mediums that we are using. For example, on our pay-per-click program, we would clearly measure conversion rates.”

Be sure to read the entire “Ask the Expert”  posted in a thread dated Aug. 27 by Evan Hackel, CFE, founder & principal of Ingage Consulting.  The link requires you to log in first and then takes you to the responses on the Franchise Relations Dialogue forum.

The IFA Franchise Relations Committee’s Knowledge Share Task Force is helping IFA members to tap into their peers’ expertise with the creation of this series.  If you are you seeking to expand your understanding of issues related to franchising, visit the Franchise Relations Dialogue forum to stay involved with the ongoing series.

IFA’s Emerging Franchisor Conference → GO BIG!


Ever wondered what it is like to be given all tools necessary and then told to build something?  Well, as many of us know, it’s definitely a challenge to start on your own! However, given the proper resources, it could end up being the best learning opportunity! Now take that approach and apply it to your business. If you are a growing franchisor and looking for the premier franchising networking event filled with resources, then look no further! IFA has teamed up with a taskforce to implement a program that could best serve the Emerging Franchisors needs.

The 2014 Emerging Franchisor Conference is an interactive platform for executives of brands that are just stepping into the market.  Join fellow professionals who have been in the business for quite a while to gain tips and apply proven strategies on how to make your brand shine. Hear Warren Ellish, President & CEO of Ellish Marketing Group talk about World-Class Branding, Catherine Monson, CEO of FastSigns International discuss corporate culture and Mary Kennedy Thompson of the Dwyer Group give her “Lessons in Leadership.” After hearing their motivational stories, there is no doubt that you will be recharged and ready to GO BIG!

Not only does this event advise you on the necessary steps to reach the top, but it helps guide you in the right direction, especially in connection with your franchisees. Building trust from the start is crucial in any relationship, so enhance the connection with your current franchisee while creating new relations. By the end of the conference, you will know who you want to play a key role in your business, what you want from them, and where to put them in action.

Some key aspects of the conference that should not be missed are: the “Discussion with Franchise Founder’s and CEO’s”, the notorious “Shark Tank” session (yes you heard it right, get a sense of the deadly tank!), a case study of audience engagement and of course, the infamous roundtable discussions where you get up close and personal with the best in the business.

Don’t just sit in the present to wait for something to happen in the future, take a plunge in this unique educational opportunity offered by IFA and register for the 2014 Emerging Franchisor Conference in Dallas, November 18-19 today! The program brochure is now available, so click here to see what’s in store!

Join Franchise Relations Dialogue Forum’s New “Ask the Expert” Series

Are you looking for a way to expand your understanding of issues related to franchising in a fun and innovative way? The IFA Franchise Relations Committee’s Knowledge Share Task Force is helping IFA members to tap into their peers’ expertise with the creation of a new series called “Ask the Expert.”

Don’t miss the opportunity to participate in this new series that gives you access to franchise experts who will describe how they navigated their paths to success and overcame obstacles.  The first expert is Dwyer Group Executive Chairwoman Dina Dwyer-Owens, CFE.  Dwyer-Owens is a former IFA chairwoman and has more than 30 years of industry experience.

Simply post a question by this Friday, Aug. 15.  About 10 questions will be selected by the IFA Franchise Relations Committee’s Knowledge Share Task Force after sorting and combining all of the questions.  Next Dwyer-Owens will later supply her responses. Questions can include almost anything as long as it is related to franchising. So get in your questions today.

Visit the Franchise Relations Dialogue Forum to stay involved with the ongoing series to take advantage of business strategies that work in today’s marketplace.

Franchising With a Side of Fascinating

When the general public thinks of franchising, popular brands such as McDonald’s, Subway and KFC may come to mind. And why not, 57 percent of franchise businesses involve food — 38 percent are quick service restaurants, 13 percent are table/full service restaurants and 6 percent are retail food, according to IFA’s Franchise Business Economic Outlook prepared by HIS Global Insight.

Here’s a look at just a few members from these franchise categories.

Kat Cole, who today is president of Cinnabon, said she took on leadership roles early, such as serving as class president, and has learned to question what leads to success more than what ends in failure, according to a recent New York Times article.  Auntie Anne’s President and COO Bill Dunn started working in one of his father’s Wendy’s restaurants as a teenager and hopes he’ll be remembered for his push for continuous improvement, he shared with QSR Magazine. And childhood friends and  Zaxby’s co-founders Zach McLeroy and Tony Townley dreamed up the company nearly 25 years ago while shooting hoops in McLeroy’s backyard.

And then there are the industry’s multi-talented, multi-tasking franchisees. This coal miner’s daughter was a part-time cashier for Taco Bell while attending community college and went on to hold managerial positions in several franchise restaurants.  Today Shana Gonzales owns four Checker’s restaurants in Atlanta. IFA Treasurer Aziz Hashim, who is president and CEO of NRD Holdings, LLC, earned a degree as an electrical engineer and then promptly went into franchising. Today he’s one of the top 200 franchise operators in the United States with such high-profile brands as Popeye’s, Subway, KFC, Taco Bell and many others.  IFA board member Mitch Cohen, who franchises more than a dozen Baskin-Robbins and Dunkin’ Donuts locations in Long Island, N.Y., and  co-chairs Dunkin’ Donuts & Baskin-Robbins Community Foundation, is also a Guinness World record holder for most ice cream cones prepared in one minute — 19.

Yes, there are challenges affecting the franchise industry, but unique individuals like these and many others are more than prepared to address them.  You can learn more about industry issues and solutions during the IFA Public Affairs Conference, sponsored by ADP, Sept 16-17 in Washington, D.C.




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