DDIFO has received has received news from the Coalition of Franchisee Associations that the Arbitration Fairness Act (H.R. 1020) is in danger of having the provisions protecting franchisees removed. If omitted, the Arbitration Fairness Act will not protect franchisees from being forced to enter into binding arbitration with their franchisor.  

The “franchise” provision is specifically being targeted as an increased number of franchisors are pressuring key lawmakers for its removal. The removal of the franchise provision is imminent, so it is crucial that all franchisees contact the members of the House Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law soon as possible.

ISSUE: On February 12, 2009, Rep. Henry “Hank” Johnson (D-GA-4) introduced the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2009 (H.R. 1020). Two months later, Sen. Russell Feingold (D-WI) introduced companion legislation (S. 931) in the U.S. Senate.

The Arbitration Fairness Act is intended to ensure that the decision to arbitrate is made voluntarily due to the “greatly disparate economic power” between the bargaining parties.  The bill aims to void all provisions involving mandatory binding arbitration in any employment, consumer, franchise, or civil rights contracts.

CFA has been informed that the provision protecting franchisees from binding arbitration in franchise disputes is in serious jeopardy. Several powerful franchisors have been influencing members of the Subcommittee to remove this specific provision. It is imperative that franchisees ACT NOW and write to the members of the House Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, urging them to pass the Arbitration Fairness Act in its CURRENT FORM.

ACTION: Contact members of the House Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law immediately and urge them to SUPPORT keeping the franchise dispute provision in the Arbitration Fairness Act (H.R. 1020).

Information regarding the subcommittee members and the specific staffers handling this issue are below. If you choose to call their offices directly, ask to speak to the staffer listed or ask for the staffer who handles the “Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law” issues.

If you choose to send a letter, please click on the staffer’s name, which will automatically generate their email address. CFA has created this letter to cut and paste into an email, however please personalize your letters to address the specific issues and concerns that you have with binding mandatory arbitration in franchise agreements.

Democrats                                            DC Phone             Staffer

Steve Cohen (D-TN) [Chairman]                 202-225-3265     David Greengrass

Bill Delahunt (D-MA)                                 202-225-3111     Davita Walsh

Mel Watt (D-NC)                                      202-225-1510     Lakecia Foster

Dan Maffei (D-NY)                                    202-225-3701     Hasan Sarsour

Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)                                  202-225-3072     Ryan Clough

Hank Johnson (D-GA)                                202-225-1605     Elisabeth Stein

Bobby Scott (D-VA)                                 202-225-8351     Rashage Green

Judy Chu (D-CA)                                      202-225-5464     Allison Rose



Trent Franks (R-AZ) [Ranking Member]         202-225-4576     Jacki Pick

Jim Jordan (R-OH)                                    202-225-2676     Jared Dilley

Howard Coble (R-NC)                                202-225-3065     John Mautz

Darrell Issa (R-CA)                                   202-225-3906     Jason Scism

J. Randy Forbes (R-VA)                             202-225-6365     Will Hupman

Steve King (R-IA)                                     202-225-4426     Casaday Nguyen