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.

Five things to do in Dallas during IFA’s FranTech!

Register today for IFA’s #FranTech2015, October 26-28 in Dallas, TX!

Taking place at the InterContinental Dallas, this upscale hotel is close to the best attractions in the city, and here are five things you can do while you’re there!:

1. Shop.
The Galleria Dallas is a massive mall filled with high-end shops and restaurants, and even has an indoor ice skating rink!

2. Eat.
From premier barbeque to authentic Tex-Mex, dining in Dallas is one unique experience that you can’t miss.

3. Learn.
Visit the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and experience the interactive “Decision Points Theater” that takes visitors “inside” the President’s decision-making process during major crises, see steel from the World Trade Center, and check out thousands of artifacts and archives.

4. Relax.
Tour the manicured gardens with breathtaking views at the world-class Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.

5. Get inspired.
The largest urban arts district in the country is in the Dallas Arts District, filled with award-winning museums and galleries, including the Dallas Museum of Art, Nasher Sculpture Center, and Crow Collection of Asian Art.

Don’t miss this engaging event happening in just a couple of weeks! View the brochure and register now!

CFE candidates: Earn 300 credits by attending this event!

The discounted hotel rate at the InterContinental Dallas ends this Friday, October 9.

Franchise Trade Mission Explores Central America

From September 20th through 26th, 2015 a U.S. Franchise Trade Mission sponsored by IFA and Franchise Times visited Costa Rica, Guatemala and El Salvador.   13 IFA members joined the mission: Arby’s, Berlitz Franchising Corp., Bonchon Chicken, FASTSIGNS, Fuddruckers, Kona Grill, Mosquito Squad, Russo’s New York Pizzeria, Signal 88 Security, Sky Zone, Smashburger, Wayback Burgers and Xtreme Lashes.

Mission participants received market briefings, went on site visits and participated in matchmaking meetings with pre-screened prospective franchisees.  Many participants were impressed by the quality of investors with one executive calling the Guatemala meetings the best in his 35 year career.

Group CRThe Franchise Trade Mission Delegation gathers in San Jose, Costa Rica

Abby Daniell Costa Rica

Abby Daniell, Chief of Commercial Section at U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica welcomes the Mission to its first stop


Reed Nyffeler, CEO & Co-founder of Signal 88 Security addresses a reception in Costa Rica


Joe Hroch and Anthony Russo of Russo’s NY Pizzeria meet with prospective franchisees in Guatemala

J 10 IFA GUATE 2015 baja res

Leaders from the Guatemala Franchise Association and IFA Director of International Affairs, Josh Merin meet in Guatemala City


Charisse Phillips, the Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala addresses the Franchise Mission

Juan Manuel Güiza

Juan Manuel Güiza entertains at a private dinner for Trade Mission participants in Guatemala City

el Salvador matchmaking

Xtreme Lashes and FASTSIGNS during matchmaking meetings in El Salvador

Multiplaza San Salvador

The Trade Mission receives a guided tour of Multiplaza Mall in San Salvador, El Salvador

Four things to expect at FranTech



Top-Notch Speakers
Get advice from professionals at innovative companies like Google, Facebook, the Dwyer Group, and FASTSIGNS. You’ll learn from the best about integrating technology into your digital marketing strategy, designing your business for the future, and much more.

Think Tank
Our “Think Tank” is where you can discover cutting-edge tools and creative solutions by meeting other attendees. You’ll leave FranTech with knowledge about how to help increase your franchise system’s productivity, brand awareness, customer engagement, generating qualified leads, and streamlining operations.

Up-to-Date Information
Technology is an ever-changing world, and it can be difficult to be on top of the new trends that can make or break your business. IFA’s FranTech is designed for professionals who need help in the rapidly-changing field of technology, security and digital marketing. FranTech’s Planning Task Force has developed this year’s event around digital marketing and the future of technology, which you will hear directly from our top technology experts in franchising.

It’s all about who you know. Reconnect with old friends and meet valuable new contacts at our opening welcome reception, in our Think Tank, and everywhere in between.

CFE candidates: Earn 300 credits by attending this event!

The discounted hotel rate at the InterContinental Dallas ends October 5.

View the brochure and register now!

Two IFA International Toolkit webinars from Gray Plant Mooty


The 3rd and 4th webinars in IFA’s International Toolkit series are “Legal and Regulatory Requirements of International Franchising” and “Legal Aspects of Bringing your Franchise to the U.S. – Myth v. Reality”.  Both will be presented by principals at Gray Plant Mooty.

Legal and Regulatory Requirements of International Franchising

An increasing number of franchisors are making international expansion part of their plans for growth. Successful international expansion requires that franchisors recognize and address a number of legal and regulatory issues. This webinar will identify the most common legal issues that franchisors seeking to expand globally face, and will address the most efficient ways of understanding and dealing with them:

1. How soon should a franchisor know about legal and regulatory issues before committing to franchising in a new country?

2. What is the most cost effective approach to learning about legal issues in a new country?

3. What types of laws should be of concern to franchisors?

4. Which country’s law should govern an international franchise agreement?

5. Where should international franchise disputes be resolved?

Click here to register now

Tuesday, Sep 22, 2015
11:00 AM EDT
1 hour 30 minutes

Presenters: Carl Zwisler, Gaylen Knack and Elizabeth Dillon

Legal Aspects of Bringing your Franchise to the U.S. – Myth v. Reality

The US market can seem complicated and even intimidating to international franchisors looking to expand there. This webinar will separate fact from fiction about US franchise laws and regulations, and will cover the following important issues facing international franchisors:
1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of franchising in the U.S.?
2. Which factors increase a franchisors cost and time of complying with U.S. Franchise laws?
3. What must you know about U.S. Franchise laws before beginning discussions with a prospective U.S. Franchisee?
4. How do U.S. franchise laws affect the way franchises are sold?
5. What is the rate of litigation between franchisees and franchisors in the U.S?

Click here to register now

Tue, Oct 27, 2015
08:30 AM EDT
1 hour 30 minutes

Presenters: Carl Zwisler, Jan Gilbert and Mark Kirsch

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