As a member of the Coalition of Franchisee Associations (CFA), DDIFO participated in the inaugural CFA Day Forum 2009, in Washington DC, February 10th and 11th. Franchisee associations meeting in our nations’ capital as a collective group marks a historic event for the entire franchise community.
The mission of the CFA is: “to leverage the collective strengths of franchisee associations for the benefit of the franchisee community”.
Franchisee Associations that participated in the forum represented franchisees from Hardee’s, Pizza Hut, Burger King, Meineke, 7-Eleven, Subway, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Dunkin Donuts.
The theme of the CFA Forum was “Advocating Beyond Brands”. The point of the theme was to illustrate the concept that the CFA is brand blind, the attendees were there to take a stand for all franchisees as well as small business owners.
The CFA Chairman of Government Relations, Loren Goodridge, who is also the Chairman of the North American Association of Subway Franchisees (NAASF), defined government relations as the development of positive working relationships with local, state and national government officials.
One of the main objectives of the CFA is to raise awareness within the franchisee community to protect franchisees from harmful legislation.
CFA membership represents more than 14,000 employers that employ 1.2 million people. Those numbers mean votes to members of Congress. The CFA Government Relations team set appointments with over 40 congressmen on Capital Hill.
Participants of the CFA forum were broken down into 12 groups that included representatives from franchisee associations, and vendors. My group consisted of Tony Szambecki, and Jim McNerny both Pizza Hut franchisees and Eric Dyson of JenCas Financial and Abe Schryer of EZUniverse.
Each group has preset appointments and met with legislative aides of four congressmen to discuss these four issues impacting franchisees and small business owners: Employee Free Choice Act, Credit Card Fair Fee Act, Arbitration Fairness Act and Mandated Paid Sick Leave.
Our group first met with Dan Houton Legislative Assistant for Rep. Richard Neal (D) who represents the Massachusetts 2nd Congressional District. The NEDCP in Bellingham, is within Representative Neal’s Congressional District. Dan expressed that the Congressman was supportive of the CFA position on the Credit Card Fair Fee Act, and the Arbitration Fairness Act.
We had the opportunity to meet Congressmen Neal in the hall, and he expressed his commitment and desire to help small business owners as the “engine of economic activity, in every community”. Rep. Neal also expressed his appreciation of the investment made by Dunkin Donuts franchisees in his congressional district.
Our next meeting was with Rachel Evans, Legislative Assistant for Rep. John Tierney (D) of the Massachusetts 6th Congressional District which serves the north shore of Boston. Rachel expressed that the Congressman was supportive of the CFA position on the Credit Card Fair Fee Act, and the Arbitration Fairness Act.
Our third meeting was with Rep. Steven LaTourette (R) from Ohio’s 14th Congressional District representing constituents in the northeast of Ohio. Tony Szambecki, has a strong personal relationship with Rep. LaTourette that was nurtured by years of support by Tony of Rep. LaTourette. The Congressman was supportive of the CFA’s position on all four issues.
Our fourth meeting was with Edward Mills, Legislative Assistant for Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D) of New York’s 14th Congressional District serving the constituents of the East Side of Manhattan and parts of Queens, NY. Edward expressed that the Congresswoman would consider CFA’s position on the four issues.
This is the first time the CFA convened in our nation’s capital to advocate as franchisee leaders and interested parties of several brands, it was memorable and very well recieved. Learn more about the CFA at www.thecfainc.com.