Restaurant Lobby Digs In Against Healthcare Reform
June 29, 2012 10:12 am
The powerful restaurant lobby has already registered their dissatisfaction with yesterday’s Supreme Court decision, which upheld most of the Affordable Care Act. The law states that operators with 50 or more employees must provide affordable healthcare to all full-time employees and dependents or face stiff fines of at least $2,000 per employee.
In an interview with Nation’s Restaurant News, Rob Green, executive director of the National Council of Chain Restaurants states: “The law will particularly damage the chain restaurant industry, which operates on thin margins and cannot support costly government-imposed mandates. Many chains have indicated they will have no choice but to cut back on workers’ hours or close restaurants in order to avoid penalties.”
This claim is simply not true – per our interview with Megahana Adams of the Restaurant opportunities Center, the restaurant industry had record profits of 620 billion during 2011. Claims to the contrary fit into a greater lobbying agenda to keep wages down and conditions poor. The powerful National Restaurant Association (NRA) is urging legislative remedy to healthcare reform, with a representative pushing for “reform that addresses the increasing costs our members are faced with each year. …We ask members of Congress to take action that helps the restaurant industry continue to help create jobs and grow the national economy.” The National Restaurant Association has led efforts to maintain the rock-bottom restaurant minimum wage, which has remained stagnant at $2.13 since 1991.
The House of Representatives is expected to introduce a bill calling for a full repeal of the law the week of July 9th. Food service and restaurant executives have made their distaste for the law clear – the language of the restaurant lobby just one day after the high court decision attempts to push their increased costs onto workers. Disheartening, but not unexpected.
The Restaurant Opportunities Center has pulled together an excellent Diner’s Guide of restaurants that actually pay a living wage, offer sick days, and otherwise consider their workers, not just their bottom line.
Image from here