IFA board forges path to meet challenges, leverage opportunities: board agrees to intensify promotion of industry benefits to U.S. economy; FAN grassroots advocates pass 7,000 mark.

Author:Harrison, Alisa

The IFA Board of Directors, the Franchisee Forum and the Supplier Forum gathered in Traverse City, Mich. June 15-17 for the 2015 Summer Board of Directors meeting. Chair Melanie Bergeron, CFE, chairwoman of the board, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK, Intl., welcomed the attendees to Traverse City, a favorite spot near her home in Lansing. Nestled next to the Grand Traverse Bay, vineyards and forests, Traverse City provided a perfect setting for the board to address the many important issues facing the franchise industry.

Bergeron and IFA Vice Chair Aziz Hashim, managing partner of NRD Capital, set the stage by urging the board and staff to consider how IFA can be more proactive in promoting the positive aspects of franchising to the public, lawmakers, employees of franchise businesses and the media.

The board considered the attacks against the franchise model by the Service Employees International Union in its attempts at the local, state and federal levels to define franchisors and franchisee joint employers. The union's ultimate objective is to make it easier for the SEIU to organize employees at franchise businesses. IFA's Executive Vice President of Government Relations & Public Policy, Robert Cresanti, outlined the issues that are impacting the model and how IFA is addressing them, including actions by the U.S. National Labor Relations Board, discriminatory minimum wage, the Affordable Care Act, comprehensive tax reform, immigration reform and a host of franchise relationship bills at the state level, including California and Maine.

IFA Senior Vice President of Media Relations & Public Affairs, Matt Haller, reported that the association's grassroots advocacy program, Franchise Action Network, which launched in July 2014, now has more than 7,000 participants who are working to fight back against those attempting to break the model and serve as advocates for bills and regulations that are pro-business and pro-franchising. The message of the new campaign tells the story that locally owned franchises are America's hidden small businesses behind the many familiar logos and trusted brands which seek to increase opportunity--not just for themselves--but also for their communities.

The new campaign includes advertising, educational events and grassroots advocacy that focuses on supporting pro-franchising policies in the states and at the federal level in Washington. To learn more visit www.franchiseactionnetwork.com.

"Franchising continues to grow, create...

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