Over the past year in Washington, we have seen real progress on critical issues like reducing credit card swipe fees and, for the first time in decades, the FTC appears poised to use the Robinson-Patman Act to rein in the abuses of dominant food retailers.
We want to keep this momentum going, and the most important component for that is you. As business owners, operating in an increasingly challenging marketplace, you are all too familiar with the unlevel playing field on which independent grocers compete. You also know how credit card fees have skyrocketed, and payment networks are even lobbying to take over processing SNAP/EBT transactions to reap even more profits on the backs of grocers and their customers.
That’s why I’m asking you to join NGA’s Fly-In for Fair Competition, scheduled for June 6-7. You’ll join other independent retailers, wholesalers and state association executives in Washington, D.C., to take our message to Capitol Hill. And you’ll meet with representatives in Congress to discuss the pressing issues that are affecting business and impacting the policymaking process.
Front and center right now is the campaign to rein in dominant retail power buyers by enforcing the Robinson-Patman Act. Designed to create a level playing field for retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers and consumers, RPA has been dormant for a generation, but NGA is on the cusp of successfully bringing it back to life. The Credit Card Competition Act, which would bring competition into credit card routing, has bipartisan support and momentum. The Farm Bill, which authorizes SNAP, will be considered by Congress this year, and NGA is working to stop Mastercard’s effort to repeal the longstanding ban on SNAP purchase interchange fees.
It is critical that independent grocers have a voice at the table on these issues, and IGA’s strength as a local grocery brand in so many communities across the country gives that voice more volume. By joining us in Washington, IGA member retailers will be participating in a once-in-a-generation opportunity to promote and protect a competitive grocery marketplace.
Ted Balistreri, owner of Sendik’s Markets in Wisconsin and NGA’s board chairman, shared his thoughts during the opening keynote session at the recent NGA Show about his experience at the 2022 fly-in and why it’s important to our industry to get involved.
“What struck me about the experience was the credibility we have as an organization and as independent grocers,” Ted recounted. “Time and again, it was clear in meeting with our congresspeople that the refreshing authenticity we bring to the table and the high regard we have as leaders in our communities can be very persuasive. We are regular people dealing with real issues and that resonates across the political spectrum.”
As Ted noted, it’s an opportunity for you as independent grocers to remind policymakers that you provide employment opportunities in their districts, you feed their constituents and you collectively generate millions of dollars in tax revenue. No one can tell your story better than you can, and by doing so at the fly-in, you’ll help continue the momentum of our advocacy gains of the past year.
To register and for more information, please visit: https://www.nationalgrocers.org/m/flyin/
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