By BEN HEINEMANN
Today's story is the last in a three part series. Click to read parts one and two.
During the first general session of the International Franchise Association’s
(IFA) 2012 Public Affairs Conference, Matt Haller, vice president of public affairs and chief of staff to the president and CEO of the IFA, moderated the association’s government affairs update. Participating in the panel were Judith Thorman, senior vice president of government relations and public policy for the IFA, Jay Perron, vice president of government relations and public policy for the IFA and Dean Heyl, director of state government relations and public policy and tax counsel for the IFA.
In part three of this story, we look at the remaining political and policy topics the panel discussed during the conference.
Labor Issues – “Poster Rule” and Ambush Elections
According to the National Labor Regulations Board (NLRB), the Employee Rights Notice Posting rule, known in political circles as the Poster Rule, many private sector employers would be required “to post a notice advising employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act." The notice, which was required to have been printed on an 11 x 17 inch poster, was to be placed in an area where other notifications of workplace rights (like OSHA posters) are posted.
While it seems harmless enough, Jay Perron described the verbiage used in the poster as “a little one-sided towards basically, if you want to unionize, you can, and these are the steps you can take to unionize.”
Perron described the difficulties unionized employees can impose on small business owners and franchises when describing Card Check
Perron explained that the IFA collation was able to knock the ruling down. As of today, businesses are not required to put the poster up, an act that was supposed to take effect on April 30, 2012. A final decision on the posting rule is expected to be made before the end of the year.
On the topic of unionization, the NLRB has also proposed to shorten the timeframe that union elections can occur. Perron described it as a group of employees coming into work on a Friday, filing a petition to organize, and having the election 20 days later.
“For someone that is a small business owner that doesn’t know his rights, to try to find an attorney and make sure that your employees know what it means to join a union, it’s all very difficult,” said Perron. “The next thing you know, your pizza delivery guys have unionized and you didn’t know anything about it.”
Perron reiterated the importance of small business owners having open lines of communications and stressed that owners should talk to their employees about the benefits of not
joining a union.
IFA Victories on the State Level
The IFA’s Dean Heyl explained the importance of being involved in politics on the state level as well. 2013 will look very different from 2012 as new politicians are elected and the political landscape is once again reshaped.
“There will be an incredible amount of turnover,” said Heyl. “California alone will have 45 new legislators.”
Heyl explained the importance of franchisees and franchisors to be involved with their local politicians.
“IFA members can help us at the state level by making a call or forwarding an email” when an important issue arises. “It means a lot to the legislators. Working on the local level is the most powerful aspect of all lobbying.”