Mark your calendars on September 15-16 for the International Franchise Association's Franchise Appreciation Day, held in Washington D.C. at the JW Mariott. (Note: Registration ends Sept. 1, so you have two weeks to do this!) This fall conference will help shape public policy, and if you, the franchise business owner, want your say, this is your chance! Over 500 franchise business leaders will get together in order to tell Congress about franchising and its impact on our (presently fragile) economy. This is also a chance for the IFA Educational Foundation's study on the Economic Impact of Franchised Businesses to be reviewed by policymakers; this is a study showing that franchises have outpaced the economy in job growth (3 times higher than the economy), payroll and output from 2001-2005.
Some of the important issues that might be discussed on Franchise Appreciation Day (and throughout the year with your local congressman or woman):
- The "Employee Free Choice Act": This replaces the federally-supervised private ballot with a card, and allows union organizers to oversee the process of joining a union. The individual's choice is made public to everyone.
- Immigration Reform: The IFA wishes for a comprehensive plan that makes sure that legal immigrants are hired, our borders are secure, and creates a worker visa program that will allow legal admission of needed workers on top of providing a solution for the 12 million undocumented immigrants in the US. The IFA is pushing for a system that makes employer verification simple and practical, without putting burdensome costs on small business owners.
- The Federal Arbitration Act: The IFA is hoping to make all pre-dispute binding arbitration clauses unenforcable, as many franchisors and franchisees have already signed arbitration agreements in their Franchise Agreements.
- Small business health-plan legislation: This legislation would allow small businesses tocreate national pools to get affordable health care coverage.
- The Business Activity Tax Simplification Act: This legislation hopes to limit audits and tax bills from states where franchise companies and other businesses don't have property or staff.
- Healthy Families Act: Employers with less than 15 employees are required to permit workers to take up to 7 days of leave with pay and benefits. This could potentially limit an employer's ability to create benefits packages for their employees.
These and other issues will be discussed in-depth at Franchise Appreciation Day, so come and help your Congressman or woman understand how legislation affects your franchise. The IFA will arrange meetings on Capitol Hill, and provide you with guidance on how to conduct these meetings.
Also, you'll have the chance to listen to keynote speaker and political strategist Paul Begala, who will discuss the 2008 presidential election. Begala has experience in the White House's Situation Room and CNN's own program with the same name.
So sign up today for Franchise Appreciation Day! Check out IFA's site on FAD to get more information.