SEIU Endorses Clinton Candidacy – What About America’s Small Businesses?

On Tuesday, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), one of the largest private sector unions, endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential race. This decision by the SEIU executive board came amidst objections from local SEIU chapters, some of whom say that the endorsement came too early in the election cycle. The controversy is heighted by Clinton’s failure to support SEIU’s keynote initiative, the ‘Fight for $15,’ aimed at raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Instead, Clinton has spoken out numerous times in support of a $12 per hour minimum wage.  The endorsement reflects an alarming trend that a Clinton Administration would feature more pro-union policies, following the lead of the Obama Administration.

However, while the SEIU’s approach to solving income inequality is centered on disruptive protests and PR stunts against businesses, IFA’s President & CEO Robert Cresanti argued against harming America’s small business owners: “There is no question we should be looking at solutions to address the growing economic divide in America. However, staging street theatre and shutting down restaurants owned by local families who have invested their life savings and created jobs in communities cannot be the answer.”

The franchise industry is responsible for creating nearly 9 million direct jobs for Americans, outpacing job growth relative to the rest of the economy year after year.  If drastic minimum wage increases take effect, many of these workers will be priced out of the labor market, thereby increasing unemployment and failing to provide millions of workers with the skills needed to excel in a competitive environment.  Regulatory burdens such as the National Labor Relations Board and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration attempts to redefine the “joint employer” standard – which the SEIU has advocated for – have put the country’s more than 780,000 franchise establishments at risk. Despite franchising outpacing the gross domestic product of the rest of the economy, America’s small business owners face a perilous environment if these anti-growth policies persist.

In the future, the inequality debate should focus on creating opportunities to enter the middle class, rather than disruptive political theatre that targets America’s entrepreneurs.

Fuel Your Growth at #EmergingFranchisors2015!

Imagine being given tools and then told to build something. Well, as many of us know, it’s definitely a challenge to start on your own! However, given the proper resources, it could end up being the best learning opportunity. Now take that approach and apply it to your business. If you are a growing franchisor and looking for the premier franchising networking event filled with resources, then look no further! IFA has teamed up with a taskforce to implement a program that could best serve the emerging franchisor’s needs.

The 2015 Emerging Franchisor Conference is an interactive platform for executives of brands that are just stepping into the market.  Join fellow professionals who have been in the business for quite a while to gain tips and apply proven strategies on how to make your brand shine. Hear David Long, Founder & CEO, Orangetheory Fitness talk about how he transformed a simple workout to a global franchise. You’ll also hear Shannon Wilburn, CEO & Co-Founder, Just Between Friends, discuss five critical pillars to support your company’s growth, and much more! After hearing their motivational stories, there is no doubt that you will be ready to fuel your growth.

Not only does this event advise you on the necessary steps to reach the top, but it helps guide you in the right direction, especially in connection with your franchisees. Building trust from the start is crucial in any relationship, so enhance the connection with your current franchisee while creating new relations. By the end of the conference, you will know who you want to play a key role in your business, what you want from them, and where to put them in action.

Don’t just sit in the present to wait for something to happen in the future, take a plunge in this unique educational opportunity offered by IFA and register for the 2015 Emerging Franchisor Conference in beautiful Miami, FL November 18-19 today! The program brochure is now available, so click here to see what’s in store!


Franchise Trade Mission visits the Nordics

From October 18th through 24th, 2015 a U.S. Franchise Trade Mission sponsored by IFA and Franchise Times visited Norway, Sweden and Finland.   8 IFA members joined the mission: CKE Restaurants, FASTSIGNS International, Home Instead Senior Care, McDonald’s, Signal 88 Security, Sky Zone, United Franchise Group and Wing Zone.  Mission participants received market briefings, went on site visits and participated in matchmaking meetings with pre-screened prospective franchisees.


The Trade Mission gathers at Villa Otium, the US Ambassador’s residence in Oslo


Magnus Dagestad of McDonald’s addresses a reception at the residence of the US Ambassador to Norway.


Jonas Ideström, Past Chair of the Swedish Franchise Association and Founder of FranchiseArkitekt visits with IFA Director of International Affairs Josh Merin in Oslo


Johan Martinsson, CEO of the Swedish Franchise Association gives a briefing in Stockholm


Mission participants visit Gamla stan (The Old Town) in Stockholm


Charles Adams Jr., US Ambassador to Finland welcomes the Mission to Helsinki

Marc presents

Marc Mushkin of CKE Restaurants presents Carl’s Jr. in Helsinki

Finland matchmaking

Matchmaking meetings at the US Embassy in Finland


The Mission on a hardhat tour of an extension of Iso Omena mall near Helsinki

Webinar: Commercial Strategies to Export a Franchise to the U.S


The newest webinar in IFA’s International Toolkit Series is “Commercial Strategies to Export a Franchise to the U.S.” presented by Kay Ainsley of MSA Worldwide.

With a population of over 321 million people, the United States represents an enormous opportunity for most companies.  For foreign companies to be successful in entering the U.S. Market via a franchise model requires careful planning. Franchising is a well-established method of business expansion and potential franchisees have many, many franchise and other investments from which to choose.  This webinar will address:

An overview of the market in the United States

  • How to create a plan for entering the market
  • The franchise vehicles available to expansion
  • What U.S. Franchisees expect from their franchisor
  • How to garner the interest of potential franchisees


 October 22, 2015
11:00 AM EDT
1 hour

Presenter: Kay Ainsley, Managing Director, MSA Worldwide

Small business owners to Congress: NLRB’s new test is targeting franchises

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) held a hearing to address the NLRB’s revised “joint employer” standard as detailed in its August 27 decision in Browning-Ferris Industries.  The Board indicated that “indirect, potential, or ultimate” control over another employer’s workers could be enough to trigger a finding of joint employment, a change from the previous standard requiring direct and immediate control over terms and conditions of employment.  The committee is also considering a legislative solution – Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduced legislation last month, the Protecting Local Business Opportunity Act, to restore the decades-old definition of joint employer.

Among the panel of witnesses was Ciara Stockeland, Owner and Founder of MODE, a fashion retail franchise based in Fargo, ND.  MODE is a small franchisor with 12 locations, and plans to expand to 75 by 2024.  “The uncertainty introduced by the NLRB’s BFI decision jeopardizes the expansion of my business,” Ms. Stockeland testified.  “As a small business owner who meets countless public and private demands and competes against massive corporations each day, I find it terribly frustrating to have regulators harming my business and the careers of so many others in our system.”

Despite the NLRB’s ongoing litigation against franchise companies alleging joint employer liability, some Senators insisted that a new joint employment standard will not present a problem for franchise businesses, pointing to the NLRB General Counsel’s advice memorandum in the Freshii case declaring that a single franchisor was not a joint employer with its franchisees.  In response, Ms. Stockeland testified that the Freshii memo “is simply a distraction,” noting that the memo does not hold the force of law and has not been fully litigated like the Browning-Ferris Industries case was.  She also pushed back on the Senators’ arguments that Browning-Ferris does not impact franchise companies since it was a ruling on contracting relationships, saying that “every franchisor-franchisee relationship is based on a contractual franchise agreement.  Franchising is contracting.”

Ms. Stockeland also attended yesterday’s White House Summit on Worker Voice, an event designed to bring together leaders from the labor, employer, and advocate communities to explore ways to collaborate to improve jobs and the economy.  However, the event has been criticized as being biased towards labor unions, with very few representatives from the employer community invited to participate.  “I think from what I have heard, I am in the minority there,” she told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview on Tuesday.  “But I am excited to tell my story.”

Chairman Alexander’s bill, S. 2015, continues to gain momentum in the Senate and currently has 60 co-sponsors.  Identical legislation in the House of Representatives, H.R. 3459, is sponsored by Rep. John Kline (R-MN), Chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and has 44 co-sponsors.

To watch video of Tuesday’s hearing, click here.  To send a letter to your legislators urging them to support the Protecting Local Business Opportunity Act, click here.

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