Franchise Leaders Take to Capitol Hill
Jani-King representatives were in the nation’s capitol recently for the International Franchise Association’s Public Affairs Conference, held September 14-15, at the JW Marriott in Washington, DC. This conference was the franchise industry’s most important advocacy event.
Formerly known as Franchise Appreciation Day, the event was re-branded as the Public Affairs Conference and with a new President and new Congress in office, it proved to be a critical time for lawmakers to know the contribution franchising makes to the nation’s economy, particularly in time of crisis.
Over 400 franchisors, franchisees and suppliers participated this year to address key issues including Union Card Check, Health Care Reform and Access to Credit.
Union Card Check
The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA, or ‘card check’) would require the National Labor Relations Board to certify a union if presented with signed authorization cards from a majority of employees at a company that the union is seeking to authorize.
Experts agree this proposal is the most dramatic change in labor policy in decades. If enacted, it would be a tipping point for the future of the American workplace in favor of ‘Big Labor.’ This bill ends worker rights to privacy. It would eliminate the secret ballot election process which was designed to ensure fairness and protect employees and employers during union organizing campaigns.
In the wake of the severe economic downturn, the IFA began calling on the federal government to take action that would ease frozen credit markets. At every opportunity, the IFA has delivered a fundamental message that in times of economic stress, franchising gives small businesses an extra margin of help through access to training, business methods and marketing support provided by the franchisor. Providing franchised businesses access to capital by improving operation of secondary markets will ensure that small business entrepreneurs will be positioned to help lead us out of recession.
Health Care Reform
The IFA supports legislative efforts to increase the access and affordability of health insurance for franchised businesses and its employees.
In the past, the IFA has strongly advocated for legislation to create Small Business Health Plans (SBHPs), which would allow employers to offer health insurance to their employees through the employer’s membership in an association, or association-like group (such as a franchise system). Providing a framework for small businesses to join together, SBHPs would enable small employers to compete on a more level playing field with other businesses by spreading risk among a much larger group, strengthening negotiating power with plans and providers, and reducing administrative costs.
In addition to discussions involving these important issues, the more than 400 attendees of the conference took to Capitol Hill on Monday September 14th. Sporting buttons that read ‘Better Faster Job Creation, Economic Growth,’ attendees prepared for their Capitol Hill meetings by listening to intensive issue briefings by IFA’s Government Relations staff, participating in roundtable discussions on how to conduct effective meetings on Capitol Hill and sharing in a Franchise Town Hall Meeting specifically to share ideas and opinions about legislative issues of key importance to the franchising industry.