Franchisees to Descend on Washington to Make Voices Heard
Franchisees to Descend on Washington to Make Voices Heard

Members of Congress will hear about the issues that affect franchises.

Three percent of the U.S. GDP wants to make its message heard in Washington.

The International Franchise Association’s Franchise Action Network is set for a fly-in at the nation’s capital on Sept. 29-30 to alert members of Congress to issues that affect a huge industry that employs millions of workers.

Erica Farage, senior director of political affairs and grassroots advocacy for the IFA, says the Franchise Action Network has become the industry’s first layer of defense against public policy and regulatory threats. In just one year, FAN has grown from about 1,100 members to more than 8,000 advocates fighting on behalf of the franchise business model.

“Our overall mission is simple for the fly-in and throughout the year: to demonstrate that locally owned franchises are America’s hidden small businesses,” Farage said. “Behind many familiar logos and trusted brands are small business owners seeking to increase opportunity, not just for themselves but for their community. By joining to form the Franchise Action Network, we seek to create jobs and strengthen America’s economy.”

This newly branded annual meeting of advocates in Washington intends to make their voices heard.

“This is the culmination of the first year of the Franchise Action Network, having many of our members come to Washington to make their voices heard in the halls of Congress,” Farage said. “Through a sustained recruitment, education and engagement campaign, the franchise industry is making sure our voice is heard in the fights we are facing at all levels of government — from discriminatory minimum wage at the city level, to franchise relationship legislation at the state level, and perhaps most importantly, the joint-employer issue at the federal level, which will be the focus of the fly-in this year.”

The recent National Labor Relations Board ruling has created uncertainty for the franchise industry and contracts could be in jeopardy as could the autonomy of local franchise business owners, she said. The board’s decision broadens the joint-employer standard, openings businesses up to increased liability and union maneuvers. During IFA’s programing for the roughly 400 participants, FAN will do a deep-dive on the issue for members to make sure that everyone is up to speed on the latest developments on this issue and also make sure that everyone is prepped for their Capitol Hill meetings.

Members will ask for support on newly introduced legislation in the House and Senate, the Protecting Local Business Opportunity Act. The legislation preserves franchising as a viable business model for small business ownership and job creation by invalidating the recent NLRB ruling and restoring an appropriate legal standard for determining who is a joint employer.

“That’s why our FANs come to DC — to talk about their business from a personal perspective, the jobs that they've created in their legislators’ states and districts, the products and services that they provide their local community and the issues that impact their business. Members of Congress and their staff want and need to hear from their constituents about the challenges and opportunities they face running their businesses every day,” she said.

Telling their stories to lawmakers and their staff can bring home the effect that Washington has on franchising and its employees, she said.

Click here to learn more about the fly-in: FAN