Global Collaboration

Robert Cresanti, CFE

Recently, I traveled to Sao Paulo, Brazil to attend the Brazilian Franchise Association's conference. What I found in Brazil is what I find virtually every time I meet with franchise leaders from around the world — franchising's tremendous impact on communities is a global phenomenon. Similar to the United States, franchising is helping economies grow by creating new, better and safer businesses at an astounding pace in dozens of countries.

And like the IFA, franchise associations in each of these countries are working persistently to stave off unnecessary and unfair regulation being promulgated by government. The issues we face in the U.S. are being replicated around the globe, particularly efforts to deem franchisors and franchisees as joint employers. As we have done on many issues, working with our counterparts and with the World Franchise Council, we are collaborating on research, generating new and cohesive data to make the case to governments across the globe that changing the joint employer definition would be devastating to the franchise model and impact the economic success that franchise businesses have achieved. The height of irony to me is that Brazil, one of the most left-leaning governments in the world, when confronted with the question of whether the employees of the franchisee are the employees of the franchisor, chose to enforce the classic definition we have employed in the United States for decades, not the new one espoused by U.S. labor unions and the National Labor Relations Board.

One innovative way we are collaborating is though Memorandums of Understanding with our international counterparts to share actionable information on key policy initiatives and strategy on the joint employer issue, and when needed, represent one another's viewpoint to government
officials in our respective countries.

For the first time, IFA will represent several of our counterpart associations in the United States and they will represent us in their jurisdictions. This is significant because as the world becomes more interconnected and as groups such as the Service Employees International Union take their campaign to change the definition of joint employer abroad, franchise associations will need to collaborate and advocate together. We have signed three such MOUs with Australia, Brazil and Canada, and will collaborate closely with the associations of any other countries as new threats emerge.

These partnerships will also help us share programs and initiatives to tell the franchise story in the U.S. and internationally. We have a great story to tell about how franchising allows people to go into business for themselves but not by themselves, helps to create jobs and build and support a middle class in many countries around the world.

By collaborating on a global scale to create a predictable and fair business environment that allows franchising to grow, we make major contributions to a sustainable and healthy economies. As I've come to see firsthand in my travels, where franchising grows, prosperity follows.
Robert Cresanti