Credit Claims For Kansas Restaurant Workers: Legal Strategies For Income Stability – The second American NRA has made headlines for its lobbying – lobbying that some say is against the interests of restaurant workers
Amy McCarthy is an editorial writer who focuses on pop culture, politics, work, and just the weirdest online trends.
Credit Claims For Kansas Restaurant Workers: Legal Strategies For Income Stability
When you hear the acronym “NRA,” you probably think of an organization laser-focused on making sure this country never passes another common-sense gun law. But there is another NRA, the National Restaurant Association, which also has a lot of political power in Washington, D.C. and in state legislatures across the country, all with the stated goal of supporting — and lobbying for — restaurants of all shapes and sizes. .
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The reality is a bit more complicated. Founded in Kansas City in 1919 after a dispute between restaurant owners and the vendors who sold them eggs, the National Restaurant Association is the largest “grocery trade association” in the world. It represents the interests of tens of thousands of restaurant owners and operators across the country, but it is not without its critics. Some suggest that the interests of restaurant owners and employees are often at odds, while others say the group is too focused on big chains to serve mom-and-pop establishments.
Reports revealed that proceeds from the organization’s ServSafe food safety certification program, which thousands of hospitality workers take each year across the country, were used to lobby for laws that would keep wages low for those same workers. have reached out to the organization for comment on these claims and have not received a response. At a recent summit in Atlanta, the organization’s legal arm, the Restaurant Law Center, held talks on how to stop the continued boom in restaurant industry unions, which also drew criticism.
Until recently, the National Restaurant Association worked largely behind the scenes, influencing the industry in ways most diners are unaware of. Here we look at what the NRA does, who it serves, and whether or not it’s good for the people who actually work in restaurants.
The NRA is the national advocacy group for restaurants of all kinds, from neighborhood pizzerias to big chains. The organization boasts that it represents more than 40,000 members who own or operate restaurants across the country. In addition to providing industry analysis to its members, the NRA is heavily involved in lobbying Congress. It’s also affiliated with 52 different state and local restaurant associations to, as it says on its website, “create a truly national structure,” and those local groups are also involved in lobbying.
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How a restaurant joins the National Restaurant Association is a surprisingly opaque process. If an individual restaurant owner wants to join, say in Texas, the national organization directs them to their state level group, the Texas Restaurant Association, where they can join directly and automatically receive dual membership in both groups. Owners of larger companies that operate restaurants in multiple states or have more than $50 million in annual revenue can join the National Restaurant Association, but its website only allows a prospective member to fill out a membership form for more details and does not disclose what these larger chains pay per levies. At the state level, fees are determined by restaurant revenue, and at least in Texas, fees range from $300 to $12,500 per year.
The organization generally says it represents all restaurants, but many have said it favors the interests of big chains over small, independent establishments. How
Reported in 2022, much of the organization’s budget comes from fees paid by chains such as Chick-fil-A, In-N-Out Burger, Benihana, Panera and Waffle House. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a particular focus for this division within the NRA, drawing criticism from major voices in the industry, such as chef and TV personality Tom Colicchio, who said the National Restaurant Association is essentially a “lapdog.” for large chains like McDonald’s.
Nationally, the organization’s lobbying is focused on making it easier — and cheaper — for restaurant owners and operators. In recent years, they have focused on several key issues: immigration reform with an emphasis on creating a stable restaurant workforce; against raising the tipped minimum wage; and more generous tax breaks for restaurant owners (this list is certainly not exclusive).
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At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Restaurant Association lobbied to keep restaurants open, even as data increasingly showed that restaurants and bars were places of high transmission of the virus. The PAC’s affiliates also donated money to Republican governors seeking to end the unemployment benefits pandemic, as its chapters in states like Tennessee and Texas argued that the $300-a-week payments were keeping people from returning to work. These political action committees have also donated to state and local political candidates, almost always Republicans, and given money to single-issue groups, such as an organization formed to oppose a 2016 Oregon referendum that sought to implement a 2.5- percentage turnover tax on companies. which has earned more than $25 million in sales in the state each year. PACs have also directed significant funds to groups opposing minimum wage increases in several states, including Colorado and Illinois.
Said the NRA was using revenue from its own ServSafe food safety course, which has been taken by millions of restaurant workers, to lobby against a minimum wage increase that would have benefited those same workers. Many states, including Texas, California and Georgia, require some type of certification course for food handlers to work in the industry, and workers typically pay for these classes at a cost of about $15 out of pocket. How
Points out that these workers are essentially—and often unknowingly—giving their fees to an organization that often acts against their interests. There are other vendors that offer certification courses for food handlers, but ServSafe is probably the most prominent. The organization does not provide data on what percentage of the industry uses its courses, but they are generally considered to be the most common.
Outside of the NRA, there are a number of groups dedicated to improving wages and working conditions in the restaurant industry, along with those created specifically to support small independent restaurants. The nonprofit Independent Restaurant Coalition, which was formed as restaurants struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic, continues to lobby Congress for funding to help these businesses through the Small Business Administration’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
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For workers, there’s Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, an advocacy group founded in 2001 that describes itself as “the nation’s oldest and largest restaurant worker-led organization working to improve the lives of restaurant workers” and has lobbied on issues of how it is paid sick leave, raising the tipped minimum wage, and racial and gender equality in the restaurant industry. The Restaurant Workers Community Foundation is another key advocacy group that provides financial support to nonprofits that address wage equity, gender equity, racial equity, and mental health, along with public advocacy for these issues. UNITE HERE, a union with more than 300,000 members who work in the hospitality industry, has raised millions of dollars through its political action committees to support political candidates who “advance the rights and interests of working people,” including in Georgia. Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.
The National Restaurant Association has become an increasingly powerful lobbying group in recent years, spending millions of dollars on political battles that often make life difficult for restaurant workers. Some have called it a “front group” for big chain owners like Yum Brands and Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants, who have a vested interest in keeping wages low to maximize their profits and have the cash to pay lobbyists who can ensure that their establishments have survived while independent restaurants close their doors.
The National Restaurant Association has a significant role in shaping the industry and its power dynamics, and that power eventually trickles down to diners who wonder why their favorite neighborhood spots have closed while giant restaurant chains like McDonald’s report record profits. All-in-one labor law poster kits and devices include all mandatory Virginia, Federal Bureau of Labor Law and OSHA notices. Upgrade to a 1-year compliance plan that includes up-to-date posters and 12 months of free Virginia and federal labor law poster updates whenever there is a mandatory labor law change. We guarantee our posters are always compliant and back our 1-year compliance plans with a $41,000 warranty.
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