Some promising developments for a change.
1. The number of states and municipalities setting minimum wage levels greater than the Federal level is increasing by the day. Last Thursday Louisville became the latest city to boost the minimum wage -- to $9.00. In the most recent mid-term elections four states approved minimum wage hikes through ballot initiatives -- Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota.
2. When a franchisee (such as a local McDonald's outlet) abuses its employees it has been very difficult to hold the franchisor (such McDonald's corporation) responsible despite the fact that the said franchisor determines the conditions of workplace operation and labor conditions. The courts are beginning to take up this significant problem for American workers who are increasingly working under this workplace arrangement. Most recently the National Labor Relations Board designated the McDonald's corporation as a "joint employer."
"Our investigation found that McDonald’s, USA, LLC, through its franchise relationship and its use of tools, resources and technology, engages in sufficient control over its franchisees' operations, beyond protection of the brand, to make it a putative joint employer with its franchisees, sharing liability for violations of our Act."
Once the larger corporation is held responsible for violations of labor law, they will be motivated to discourage and do everything possible to prevent their franchisees from engaging in illegal acts toward their workers.
This represents a major step forward.