IFA Remembers DLA Piper Partner and IFA General Counsel Dennis E. Wieczorek



Dennis E. Wieczorek, CFE, age 62, respected attorney at DLA Piper for 37 years, chairman of its Franchise and Distribution Practice, died July 11.  The sad news resulted in numerous outpourings of sadness, support for the family and memories of a well-esteemed friend for his positive business and personal influence.

The DLA Piper law firm and its predecessor firms have served as IFA’s General Counsel since the start of the association, 54 years ago.  His areas of concentration included U.S. and international franchising, licensing, antitrust and distribution law matters.

Wieczorek, DLA Piper partner, began work on IFA matters from almost his earliest days at the firm, and formally assumed the role of general counsel several years ago.  He was an active participant during IFA’s Annual Conventions and Legal Symposiums, as well as IFA board meetings.  In addition to his participation on the IFA board and its related committees, Wieczorek participated on the association’s Legal/Legislative Committee and Legislative Action Group.

“Dennis Wieczorek’s professionalism, expertise and friendship will be truly missed at IFA,” said IFA Pres. &CEO Steve Caldeira, CFE.  “His keen intellect, sound judgment, steady demeanor and focused diligence in the critical efforts that we are making to defend franchising in legislative and judicial arenas at the federal, state and municipal levels has made the IFA and the industry better and stronger. Dennis was, quite simply, indispensable.”

Wieczorek’s franchise practice excellence has been recognized by research publisher Chambers & Partners in Chambers Global and Chambers USA; The International Who’s Who of Franchise Lawyers; The Best Lawyers in America, as well as being named Best Lawyers’ 2011 Chicago Franchise Lawyer of the Year.  He was honored as Best Lawyer for 2014 in Chicago’s Best Lawyers magazine and as a repeat Franchise Times Legal Eagle.

In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, please make your contributions to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, 14 Pennsylvania Plaza, Suite 1710, New York, NY 10122.


July’s Franchising World Digital Edition Coming, June Now Available

Your business reading during the summer can now include topics trending on diversity and inclusion, as well as international development, two important areas to consider for your thriving franchise business.

FW Header09 wShadowWatch for the July issue of IFA’s Franchising World magazine that’s coming soon. Articles are designed to help your business navigate those twists and turns that accompany international development. You’ll find guidance about international data available on franchising, trends involved in franchising in Latin America, investor visas, real estate considerations and managing the translation process.  This issue also updates readers on IFA’s enhanced international program and its increased World Franchise Council engagement.

This issue also includes photo coverage of the Legal Symposium, conducted for the first time in Chicago, where it attracted more than 500 participants, as well as articles that outline the latest on franchise relations, social media and IFA’s veterans outreach program VetFran.

And while you’re waiting for the July magazine, review the June issue of Franchising World magazine that focuses on diversity in franchising that presents best practices and resources. Learn why being a diversity-focused business is no longer an option from IFA Educational Foundation Diversity Institute Chairman Carlton Curtis, Coca-Cola Foodservice vice president of industry affairs. Other industry leaders elaborate on women franchise owners and what the current economic climate means for diversity programs.

Also available, which first appeared on FranSocial’s Franchise Relations Dialogue site, is an article that has generated nearly 400 downloads: “A New Era in Franchising Continues to Emerge: Should a More Balanced Franchise Agreement Play a Role?” Authors are Aziz Hashim, NRD Holdings, LLC president and CEO and IFA treasurer; and Brian B. Schnell, CFE, a Faegre Baker Daniels LLP partner.

Check out other June magazine categories such as research, trends, multi-unit franchising and lead generation, among others.

FranSocialLogo_finalReach out to authors with your questions and comments at FranSocial.


Continuing the Conversation About Seattle

Matthew Hollek, a Subway franchisee in Ballard, a neighborhood in Seattle, joined KIRO talk radio host Jason Rantz in studio on June 24th to discuss the franchise business model, how it compares to independent small businesses and why he is fighting to get businesses like his classified as a small business.

Previously, Hollek had published an op-ed in the Seattle Times  against the Seattle ordinance which discriminates against franchises and improperly treats them not as the small, locally owned businesses they are, but as large, national companies.    “Punishing small business owners who went into franchising is simply unfair in the new minimum wage law,” Hollek wrote.  He continued the conversation on last week’s radio interview.

Hollek explains that Subway only provided him with an operational scheme. Everything else was up to him to figure out. “Outside of (brand) consistency, everything is on me,” he told Rantz. Hollek emphasizes the fact that he is exactly the same as every other small business anywhere in the nation. The only difference is that he is affiliated with a branding company, Subway.

According to Hollek, by passing this ordinance and based on the structure of the franchise model, corporate won’t be negatively affected the way the independently-owned stores will be. “The very people that Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant has been targeting, may actually make money, yet the small business people operating the stores will suffer,” said Hollek. Sawant’s response to this claim previously has been that franchisees should renegotiate their contracts. Hollek explains that he just doesn’t have that ability, nor does he believe that he or the franchisors should be obligated to change a business model that has continued to demonstrate growth over the last 50 years.

The IFA has firmly opposed the ordinance and has filed a lawsuit since it passed on June 2. IFA claims that Seattle’s new minimum wage law unconstitutionally discriminates against franchisees by categorizing them as big businesses even when they are small and independently owned. Hollek stood by this assertion in the radio interview saying, “I don’t have a problem with the law as long as it is implemented on an even playing field.”

The radio segment can be heard on KIRO’s website here.


Visited IFA’s FranBlog Recently? Take a Tour

I was talking with someone recently who wasn’t totally familiar with IFA’s SSTF

blog. Officially, it’s described as:

“A blog with news and views from the International Franchise Association representing more 825,000 franchise businesses across 300 business lines, providing for nearly 18 million jobs and generating over $2.1 trillion to the U.S. economy.”

For busy franchise executives, it’s a haven for quickly finding information on a variety of topics affecting their businesses and the franchise industry. Take a quick tour and you’ll find posts that detail a recent ruling of the National Labor Relations Board that would negatively affect franchisees, learn the five reasons why you should attend the IFA Public Affairs Conference in September or how CKE Restaurants CEO and IFA board member Andrew Puzder, CFE, drove home the message about the harmful effects of joint-employers status on franchising before a recent U.S. House of Representatives’ panel. Use the search button to find those topics of particular interest to you and your business.

Recently posted articles include the association’s lawsuit against Seattle for equal treatment, IFA’s recent reports on lending and the economic outlook, as well as credit tax subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, among many others.

And while you’re reviewing the posts, take a few minutes to vote on the most critical issue for the franchise industry today from a list of five selections!

Labor Board Ruling Could Shutter Small Businesses



In the coming days, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Division of Advice may issue a ruling that will have devastating consequences to franchisees, the mom and pop small business owners of America’s 770,000 neighborhood restaurants, hotels, print centers, realtors and flower shops that employ 8 million workers.

The case currently before the NLRB’s Division of Advice alleges McDonald’s Corporation is a “joint employer” of its franchisees’ employees, despite longstanding legal and contractual terms that clearly demonstrate the opposite is true. Franchisees are independent operators, who simply choose to go into business using a franchise model. Franchisees have separate employer identification numbers with the IRS. Franchisees hire and fire their own employees. The franchisor has brand standards that maintain the quality of products and services, but the brand standards do not include franchisee employment practices and policies.

This legal opinion would upend years of legal precedent, leading thousands of small business owners – locally owned franchise businesses– to lose control of the operations they worked hard to build, threating to put them out of business. With franchise businesses responsible for one out of every eight jobs, 3.4 percent of U.S. gross domestic product and growth rates that have created jobs and new businesses at twice the rate of other business types following the recession, the consequences of this decision on a still-recovering U.S. economy will be immense.

As the NLRB Division of Advice gives its guidance in the McDonald’s case, franchise businesses on every Main Street in America should be wondering what this decision means for their small businesses in the future.

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