When you hear of a franchise business, you’re probably thinking of some large national restaurant chain. But franchises come in many sizes. As the Chairman and CEO of Great Harvest Bread Co., I’ve lived the franchise dream, and know of thousands of others who have as well. Great Harvest has seven franchised bakeries across Montana. We started in Great Falls in 1976, and are still headquartered in Dillon. And while we are the nation’s first family of independently-owned and operated whole grain bread bakeries and cafes, we remain Montana to the core.
It is distressing to see an attack on this business model – and the employees, third-party contractors, vendors, and so many others who help our company thrive – from our own federal government. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is trying to overturn a rule that has worked successfully for almost 40 years with a new standard that exposes businesses to frivolous lawsuits and frays the relationships these firms have with their partners.
The so-called “joint employer rule” would change the game for small businesses. Currently, two entities are joint employers only if they share responsibility for “direct and immediate” conditions of employment like hiring and firing or discipline. This is clear to all involved. The new rule, which takes effect in early 2024, expands the list of terms and conditions to indirect, potential, and even “theoretical.” This is a solution in search of a problem.
The way to stop this lies with Congress. There are resolutions of disapproval that have been filed in both the House and the Senate. Passage of these resolutions would kill this rule instantly. Montana Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines and Reps. Ryan Zinke and Matt Rosendale should work together to support these resolutions, and get them passed quickly, before the NLRB can do any more damage to the American economy.
Chairman and CEO
Great Harvest Franchising, Inc.
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