Franchise owners send lobbying group to Capitol Hill

Franchise owners who say they are being bullied by the Obama administration are taking the fight to Capitol Hill.

The Coalition to Save Local Businesses, launched this week by dozens of business groups, will lobby lawmakers against a National Labor Relations Board standard they say threatens to destroy the franchise business model.

The NLRB’s controversial joint employer standard holds restaurants like McDonald’s responsible for labor violations committed by their franchisees.

Critics say this would have a devastating impact on small businesses owners and entrepreneurs, because the shift in accountability would encourage many companies to exert more control over their franchises, or in some cases, to completely disband their franchise operations.

The coalition hopes to give franchise owners more clout in Washington and drive this point home with lawmakers.

“In essence, it would take our ownership away,” said Matthew Patinkin, co-chair of the coalition and owner of several Auntie Anne’s Pretzel and Jamba Juice franchises.

“Should the NLRB expand the definition of joint employer, at best my role would change to be akin to a location manager — at worst, I’d be forced to shut down altogether,” said John Sims, co-chair of the coalition and owner of a local child care franchise in Virginia.

Other members of the coalition include the National Restaurant Association, the International Franchise Association, and the National Federation of Independent Business, among other business groups.