A new ruling issued by the National Labor Relations Board could change the model for franchises nation-wide. The NLRB's General Counsel ruled on Tuesday that McDonald's (MCD) now holds joint responsibility for how its employees are treated - this came in response to complaints that McDonald's violated its workers' rights during employee protests. According to a statement on the NLRB's website, General Counsel Richard Griffin found that of the 181 cases involving McDonald's, 43 have merit. McDonald's Spokesperson, Heather Smedstad referred to the decision as a, "unfair labor practice." She said, "McDonald's also believes that this decision changes the rules for thousands of small businesses, and goes against decades of established law regarding the franchise model in the United States." The National Retail Federation took McDonald's side on the ruling saying, "American workers may be the ultimate losers in this decision." TheStreet's Julie Cerullo reports from New York.