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Franchisors descend on Capitol to fight labor ruling

Franchisors descend on Capitol to fight labor ruling

Small business owners are storming Capitol Hill on Wednesday, pushing lawmakers to strike down a contentious labor policy imposed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

As part of the International Franchise Association’s (IFA) fly-in day, some 400 small business owners are lobbying against the NLRB's new joint employer ruling. They're meeting with 124 lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, including Sens. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinWorld passes 3 million coronavirus deaths Democratic senators call on Biden to support waiving vaccine patents Mary Trump joining group that supports LGBTQ+ female candidates MORE (D-Wisc.) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampBill Maher blasts removal of journalist at Teen Vogue Centrist Democrats pose major problem for progressives Harrison seen as front-runner to take over DNC at crucial moment MORE (D-N.D.).

The NLRB handed down the controversial joint employer ruling last month, deciding that companies can be held responsible for labor violations committed by their business partners. Franchise owners say this could force them out of business and devastate a business model that cuts across multiple industries.

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The franchise owners are hoping to build support among Democrats for legislation that would roll back the ruling.

“This isn’t a Republican issue or a Democratic issue,” said IFA spokesman Matthew Haller. “It’s a local business issue.

“We’re looking to get our message in front of every congressional office — and we’re looking to build largely Democratic support for the bill,” he added.

The Protecting Local Business Opportunity Act introduced earlier this month by Sen. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderSenate GOP faces retirement brain drain The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the National Shooting Sports Foundation - CDC news on gatherings a step toward normality Blunt's retirement deals blow to McConnell inner circle MORE (R-Tenn.) and Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.) would draw a distinction between an employee’s direct employer and any other companies they work alongside.

Dozens of the franchise owners met with Kline and Alexander Wednesday morning to kick off the fly-in day.

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“Many of you in this room have worked like crazy to establish your small business to achieve your American dream,” Kline said. “Now you find out that you have some bureaucrats here in Washington, who don’t know anything about your business, they might not know anything about business at all, but they’re determined to tell you how to run yours."

The legislation has drawn early Republican support, but Democrats have been slow to sign on.

In the Senate, the legislation has 44 co-sponsors, but no Democrats. In the House, one Democrat has signed on.

Lawmakers say the success of the legislation hinges on how many Democrats they can get on board. That’s where the franchise owners are focusing their efforts Wednesday.

"We need bipartisan support,” Alexander said. "We need Democrats who understand what small business is, as well. They’re bound to understand that if you go talk to them at home in your districts. You don’t have to come to Washington. Congressmen and senators are home every weekend. You’ll have more time with them there than you will here. And you can make your case to them here.”