FANmail - the Bi-Monthly Newsletter of the Franchise Action Network

FANmail, the official bimonthly newsletter of the Franchise Action Network!

FANmail provides you with the latest news relative to the FAN's advocacy efforts, success stories and most importantly, opportunities to get involved. Through your engagement in grassroots, advocacy and media efforts around the country, we will continue to speak as one collective voice in the #Fight4Franchising.

Today's Headline

"The people who make the rules don't realize the effect they can have on business owners and even employees. If small business owners aren't engaged and if policymakers don't hear our point of view about things, they'll continue writing rules in a silo - with nobody to challenge their conventional wisdom. Trust me, they need to be challenged to think outside their box." - Howard James, FASTSIGNS franchisee

This FANmail is brought to you by: Howard James

Get Involved

Voter Registration

Did you watch the Presidential debate last week? We did too. No matter which direction you're leaning, now is the time to make sure you're registered to vote. September 27 was National Voter Registration Day and with Election Day 2016 right around the corner, 28 days to be exact, it's time to make your voice heard. In 2008, six million Americans didn't vote because they missed a registration deadline or didn't know how to register. This year, volunteers and organizations from all over the country are joining forces in a coordinated effort to create pervasive awareness of voter registration opportunities.

The Presidential election is garnering most of the attention, but there are many more elections taking place on November 8, 2016. There are 34 U.S. Senate seats up for election this year and all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Casting a ballot represents far more than support for a candidate - it signifies your right as an American to participate in the democratic process of electing our public leaders.

Political & Legislative Updates


Last week, the IFA supported the passage of new legislation by Representative Tim Walberg (RMI), called the Regulatory Relief for Small Businesses, Schools, and Nonprofits Act, to delay the effective date of the U.S. Department of Labor's overtime rule for six months until June 1, 2017. Republicans voted unanimously in favor of the legislation alongside Democratic Representatives Brad Ashford (D-NE), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), Collin Peterson (D-MN), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). The House considered the Walberg legislation very quickly following the IFA Franchise Action Network Annual Meeting on Sept. 13-14 where hundreds of franchise owners voiced their strong concerns with the overtime rule.

The IFA and the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity (PPWO) are in support of this bill, and S. 3464 sponsored by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), as it will provide business owners additional time to comply with the regulation, which more than doubles the salary threshold for exempt employees from $23,660 to $47,476. IFA's Michael Layman submitted a letter of support to Senator Alexander last week, encouraging other Senators to join this effort as well.

Click here to take action on S.346 4 to help fix the Overtime rule!

Last month, twenty-one states banded together to file a lawsuit against the Department of Labor and request the court issue an injunction to stop the overtime rule from taking effect. The lawsuit is led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt. IFA is just one of many business groups dedicated to striking down this rule, which has also evoked legal action from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Predictive Scheduling

Last week, Seattle's city council unanimously passed a proposal that will require employers to post the schedules of hourly employees at chain restaurants and large retailers not less than two weeks ahead of the work date. Initially, Seattle's plan will only affect businesses with over 500 workers. However, once again, this law discriminates against franchisees and improperly treats them as large, national companies, not as the small, locally-owned businesses that they are. Following suit, New York City officials have announced their intention to adopt a similar plan, which focuses specifically on workers in the fast-food sector. The officials are calling this move a "natural next step" following the passage of a $15 minimum wage. New York's rules would apply only to fast-food employees and their initiative proves that Seattle's influence is too strong to ignore.

Joint Employer

Congress has already acted this year to support franchise owners on the joint employer fronts. In July, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee approved its Labor-HHS bill with a provision to temporarily restore the sensible, "direct control" joint employer standard. It is on page 135, section 410 of the bill here. There is also bipartisan legislation cosponsored by, among many others, House Democrats Brad Ashford (D-NE), Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and Collin Peterson (D-MN) to permanently restore the traditional joint employment standard that is based on businesses that exercise "direct" control over franchisees or other contractors.

Estate Tax

Last week, 41 Republican senators voiced their dissent over the estate tax in a letter sent to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew. Their request is for the Obama administration to withdraw its proposal to crackdown on a maneuver wealthy business owners use to avoid estate and gift taxes when they transfer assets to an heir, which would put family owned businesses at a disadvantage to other types of business by limiting the possibility of passing down a family business to the next generation.The IFA has consistently supported legislation repealing the estate tax and opposes regulations and legislation that would increase the costs imposed on families trying to pass their businesses on to the next generation.

Recently, the IFA joined 115 other interested parties and sent a letter to the Treasury Department expressing opposition to the proposed regulations in addition to a letter thanking Rep. Warren Davison (R-OH) for introducing H.R. 6100, the Protect Family Farms and Businesses Act, which would prevent Treasury from implementing the rule change.

Paid Sick Leave

President Obama has made vocal his expectations for Congress regarding paid sick leave and maternity leave. While this topic has stalled Congress for years, last week's executive order, which the Labor Department estimates will directly affect more than 1.1 million people once fully in effect, enables workers to accrue up to seven days of paid sick leave a year. Initially, the rule will affect only contracts solicited by the government beginning on Jan. 1, 2017

FAN atWork


Last month, the IFA officially launched the @OurFranchise campaign which tells the story of local franchise owners, their brands, employees and the positive impact the franchise business model has on our economy and communities.

To help spread the message, IFA President & CEO Robert Cresanti traveled to Colorado, Illinois, and Virginia to tell the local story of franchising in these states, capturing a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into running a successful franchise business, while hosting round tables with legislators and their franchise constituents along the way.

Through this tour, we are seeing time and again that franchising is a vibrant part of every local community, bringing positive economic growth and employment.

Next up on the tour, Robert will be traveling to Texas from October 24-27 to explore how franchising is driving innovation in the technology sector. Congruent with IFA's FranTech event, the @OurFranchise tour in Texas will bring together leaders of local brands to participate in a tech-focused, business roundtable. It's no secret, franchisees occupy the front-lines of customer service and production quality, and many industries look to franchising for real-world viability of the most cutting edge technologies. This @OurFranchise stop will provide a deeper look into how franchisees are using technological advancements to not only improve their business and workplaces, but also their communities as a whole.

If you would like to take part in these important events, please contact IFA's Erica Farage at efarage@franchise.org

Coalition to Save Local Businesses (CSLB) Roundtables

The Coalition to Save Local Businesses (CSLB) is an IFA-led partnership dedicated to protecting and strengthening all sectors of small business, which are now under attack by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), an unelected regulatory body of five Washington bureaucrats. The Coalition's goal is to maintain to the current joint employer legal standard across federal and state statutes.

As part of this effort, CSLB organizes small-business roundtables throughout the country with members of Congress and franchisee hosts. CSLB targets key officials in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate whose support would be crucial in the fight against the new joint employer ruling.

The coalition has organized the following roundtables so far for the month of October:

  • October 11 - Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH-04) hosted by Dana Kortokrax, Home Instead Senior Care of Lima, OH
  • October 14 - Representative Dave Brat (R-VA-07) hosted by John Sims, Rainbow Station of Richmond, VA
  • October 17 - Representative David Price (D-NC-04) hosted by TBD.

October presents a great opportunity to keep the momentum going and meet with elected officials back home in the district. This month-long Congressional recess is an ideal time to foster new relationships with members or build upon existing ones.

Mark Liston, IFA Board Member and President of Glass Doctor on October 3rd with Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Chair of the House Republican Conference and the highest ranking Republican woman in Congress


If you are interested in attending one of the roundtables above, or hosting and event with your member of Congress, please contact IFA's Ryan Kennedy at rkennedy@franchise.org

In the News


House Republicans Fight to Delay Obama's Overtime Rule, Inside Sources, Connor D. Wolf

The Touchscreen Will Take Youre Order Now, Wall Street Journal, Andy Puzder

Predictable Schedules Are the New $15 Minimum Wage, The Atlantic, Adam Chandler

House Passes Bill to Stall Overtime, Politico Morningshift, Cogan Schneier and Marianne Levine

Seattle Passes Touch Scheduling Regulations, Washington Free Beacon, Bill McMorris

Seattle City Council Approves Worker- scheduling Law, The Seattle Times, Janet Tu

Department of Labor Announces "Preassessment Program for Government Contractors, Lexology, Guy Brenner and Connie Bertram

Small businesses Seeking More Time to Adopt Overtime Rule, CS News

US Senate Follows House to Protect Family Franchisee Businesses, Blue Mau Mau, Rob Branca

Obama Urges Congress to Act on Paid Sick Leave, CBS, Reena Flores

U.S. Will Require It's Contractors to Provide Paid Sick Leave, NY Times, Noam Scheiber

NJ Minimum Wage Will Increase Next Year, NJ.com, Samantha Marcus

Featured FAN - Howard James

Howard James is a native Washingtonian. He started his own lawn care business way before he could drive and has not stopped working since. He developed a love for theater production at Archbishop Carroll High School and received a degree in Entertainment Production Arts from Towson State University. Freelancing as a theater designer in the nation's capital, he was recruited by the Duke Ellington School of the Arts as a professor in its Technical Theater Dept. He went on to become department chair and lead the department for seventeen years.

In 2006, he decided to open his own sign company, FASTSIGNS in DC. At that time the inner city area was known for not having the amenities and offerings that where available in the neighboring states. Howard wanted to provide much needed jobs, quality service, and great product offerings for the community where he grew up and lived with his family.

Mr. James and with his staff of mostly African American Washington residents, many who graduated from the high school where he taught, have achieved many milestones. The first full year of operation, the DC FASTSIGNS was named top new store in the system, and within five years was rank in the top 20% of all stores in the system. Mr. James and staff have been highlighted in Black Enterprise magazine as well as the Washington Business Journal,
International Franchise Association, the Rethink Red Tape Blog, and was named Black Enterprise Magazines Franchise Business of the Year 2016.

Mr. James' success could not have been possible without the continued support of his great staff, his family, especially his mother and father who are currently on his staff, his children who inspire him to keep going every day and mostly his wife Dana who has supported him in everything he has done.

Be sure to read Howard's blog on Rethink Red Tape!

Howard James, Owner, FASTSIGNS of Washington, D.C.

Help Grow the FAN

Here's how you can help today:

  1. DOWNLOAD the FAN Toolkit to get template newsletters and blog posts to educate your networks and peers about the importance of joining the Franchise Action Network.
  2. CONNECT one-on-one with those you know already to get involved in grassroots efforts to support franchising. We need their voices. Ask them to visit www.franchiseactionnetwork.com to sign up today!
  3. ENGAGE with the IFA if you know someone who would make a great FAN, but would like our help recruiting.
  4. FOLLOW US on Twitter and Facebook.