Who Is Protecting Fast Food Workers?

The Lempert Report
June 28, 2017

The Labor Department has removed guidelines regarding the rights of franchise employees from its website.

Franchisees – who are typically small business owners – were responsible for the welfare of their employees, but a set of loose guidelines created in the Obama-era suggested that corporations should do a better a job of looking out for franchise workers.

According to the Washington Postthose guidelines are no longer posted on Labor’s website. That doesn’t mean that the laws are changed so we have to wonder what’s going on.

The Post asked just that question to Labor and they responded by saying “Removal of the administrator interpretations does not change the legal responsibilities of employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act… The department will continue to fully and fairly enforce all laws within its jurisdiction.”

Is this a sign of things to come? That by just removing things they go away? I think not. This is the time more than ever that small businesses – franchisees, independent grocers and chains need to have a voice in Washington and be sure that their rights as well as the rights of their workers are heard. Lot’s of attention has been focused on the $15 minimum wage and reductions to SNAP benefits – we need to think long term about both issues and their impacts.