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If All Else Fails in March on the Hill, There Will Be Puppies


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Woofie's founders with their pooches, who are scheduled to show up during the Franchise Action Network's lobbying day at Congress September 11 for some puppy relief.

When members of the Franchise Action Network storm Capitol Hill tomorrow to lobby Congress, they will have two main targets, as instructed by the government affairs pros at the International Franchise Association who prepped them Tuesday afternoon.

Encourage your state’s representatives and senators to vote NO on the PRO Act, and YES on the Trademark Licensing Protection Act.

First, let’s break down the PRO Act as seen by the IFA’s Matt Haller and his colleagues:

-The PRO Act would solidify the harmful joint employer standard and ABC test in federal law essentially eradicating the franchise business model.

-The combination of the PRO Act’s joint employer standard and ABC test would make all franchise brands liable for their franchisees and their franchisees’ employees, “effectively corporatizing small franchised businesses nationwide.”

-The PRO Act would "rid franchise small business owners of the hard-earned equity and effort they’ve invested into their stores, hotels, gyms, restaurants etc."

(Note from this business reporter, who asked another IFA lobbyist privately if the PRO Act could pass this Congress —not a chance in the current Senate, softening the dire warnings about the purported franchise implosion.) 

As for the TLPA, the IFA urged members to urge Congress to vote YES, and promote it in this way:

-The licensing arrangement, or trademark agreement, in franchising is governed by the federal Lanham Act, which requires both the franchisor and the local owner to protect the brand and its trademarks.

-While trademark law requires franchises to enact controls to protect the brand, employment law penalizes franchises for establishing those same controls.

-Because of this Catch-22 between trademark and employment law, there is great uncertainty about what amount of control will trigger a finding that the franchisor is a joint employer over its franchisees and their employees.

-For all of these reasons, “we encourage Congress to support the TLPA. It will ensure federally required brand controls under trademark law are not used against franchises in employment law matters.”

When the weighty policy discussions were finished, the IFA’s Erica Farage offered this relief to the attendees. “Our friends at Woofie’s in Virginia are going to bring a van and a load of puppies” to Capitol Hill around lunch time on Wednesday, and they’ve invited all Congress members and staff there. Woofie’s is a pet sitting, dog walking and mobile pet spa franchise. 

“We’ll take some pictures of puppies. Who doesn't like to take pictures of puppies? Unless you’re a cat person,” Farage said, explaining her initiative called "Power of Brands" is meant to simplify the world of franchising for a lay audience and put some fun in the process.

The IFA’s Franchise Action Network annual meeting runs September 10-11, with preparation work September 10 and meetings with congressional delegations September 11. FAN is the association’s grassroots network of more than 65,000 advocates across the country who are mobilized to speak in support of franchising at the local, state and federal level.

 

 

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is senior editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
 
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
 
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
 
Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
 twitter.com/mlarson1011.
 

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