NRA FRONT BURNER, July 15, 2014 — NRA launches industry reputation effort — Wage wars: State, local and federal increases put jobs in the crosshair.
The NRA and the restaurant industry this week proudly launch our industry-reputation campaign with a first round of paid-media and digital engagement.
1.) SPREADING THE WORD–This week the NRA, with backing from leading companies across the restaurant industry, launches the first round of paid media and digital engagement in our industry reputation campaign. Over the past months, we have conducted research — through national polling and focus groups and on our campaign assets — to identify the most persuasive messaging and delivery platforms to reach key audiences with positive messaging about the restaurant industry.
—HERE’S HOW YOU CAN HELP–Here are four ways to get involved:
(1) Help us build our list of industry advocates in our four initial target markets: Chicago, Denver, Raleigh-Durham and St. Louis. Send us names of operators, managers, and employees who can help share positive messages.
(2) Join our #FirstJob conversation on Twitter–Encourage your followers to share their stories.
(3) Add our digital ads to your website.
(4) Place collateral (table tents, posters) in your restaurants and help broaden our reach.
—HERE’S OUR GOAL–Protecting and promoting the restaurant industry through an affirmative campaign that demonstrates the value of restaurant jobs and the opportunities our industry provides.
—WE SELECTED CHICAGO, DENVER, RALEIGH-DURHAM AND ST. LOUIS for our initial launch, based on specific criteria: history of protest and union activity; state restaurant association and grassroots engagement; 2014 electoral landscape; and media costs. We will add more markets as resources allow.
2.) WAGE QUESTIONS CREEPING ONTO STATE, CITY BALLOTS–Big labor is sponsoring petition drives to put wage increases on November ballots in multiple states/cities. The count: Minimum-wage measures are approved for ballots in three states and two cities, and remain pending in two states and two cities. Idaho, Mich., Mass., Mo., Richmond, Calif. and San Diego won’t see ballot measures. Here’s what we’re looking at and a detailed breakdown. http://bit.ly/U9NGyo
—On the ballot–Alaska (Aug. 19 election), Illinois (non-binding), South Dakota, San Francisco and Eureka, Calif.
—Could be on the ballot–Arkansas, Nebraska, Las Cruces, N.M., and Oakland, Calif.
—Fighting back–South Dakota restaurateurs are telling state lawmakers that enough is enough. They’ve joined with other business groups to form “No More Mandates,” to say mandates come at the cost of opportunities for entry-level and unskilled workers. http://bit.ly/1mdSQ2V
—San Diego City Council approves wage hike–Despite objections from restaurants and other local businesses, the San Diego City Council on Monday night approved a measure to increase the city’s minimum wage from $9 to $11.50 by January 2017. The measure also requires companies to offer workers five paid sick days a year. Fox San Diego http://bit.ly/1mHQCxG
3.) CHICAGO’S PROPOSED $13 WAGE WON’T HELP ECONOMY–The $13 city-wide minimum wage that a Chicago task force proposed last week won’t help the city’s economy. In fact, in a city where unemployment tops 8 percent and youth unemployment is above 25 percent, a more than 50 percent increase in the city’s wage could bring the city’s fragile economic recovery to a screeching halt. That’s the message Chicago restaurateur Sam Sanchez and Scott DeFife, NRA vice president, policy and government affairs, delivered in a Chicago Sun-Times op-ed.
4.) HOUSE TO VOTE ON FOOD DONATION TAX DEDUCTION–The House is expected to vote later this week on making permanent the enhanced tax deduction for donations of food inventory for all taxpayers. We’re leading the effort and sent a letter to all House members reiterating our support. The tax deduction for food donations was among 55 tax provisions that expired at the end of 2013, and its reinstatement is a top tax goal for the NRA. Letter http://bit.ly/1rm9nHk
5.) CARRYING INDUSTRY’S VIEWS ON OVERTIME–Major thanks to the restaurateurs who participated in the Small Business Administration’s roundtable last week on possible changes to federal overtime rules. The SBA is seeking the input of small businesses as DOL gets ready to propose revisions to the rules that govern which employees must be paid overtime when they work more than 40 hours in a week. We’re concerned that DOL won’t take into account the variety of duties restaurant managers often perform and inaccurately classify them as non-management. NRA continues to meet with DOL officials to urge them to give businesses flexibility. DOL says it plans to release a proposal by November. SBA holds another overtime roundtable on Friday. Roundtable info http://1.usa.gov/1k2uYPV
6.) $10.10 FOR FEDERAL CONTRACTORS–Three owners of restaurant franchises on military bases joined NRA at an SBA roundtable to look at the impact of a DOL proposal that would raise the minimum wage for federal contractors from $7.25 to $10.10 and the minimum cash wage for tipped employees from $2.13 to $4.90. Because of certain contract restrictions, restaurants on military bases are limited in their ability to raise prices, which means it’s harder for them to offset the costs of a wage increase. The franchise owners told SBA that the dramatic wage increase, which would affect restaurants and other contractors that renew their contracts on or after Jan. 15, 2015, could force them to shut down. NRA will file comments on the proposal shortly. DOL proposal http://1.usa.gov/1kKPdk7
7.) HEALTH CARE: SUPPORT GROWS FOR ELIMINATING AUTO-ENROLL MANDATE–We’re working to rally support for Sen. Johnny Isakson’s (R-Ga.) bill to eliminate the health care law’s auto-enroll mandate. Elimination of the mandate, which forces businesses with more than 200 full-time employees to automatically enroll all full-time employees in their lowest-cost health care plan unless the employee specifically opts out of coverage, is one of our top advocacy priorities. Almost 100 businesses and trade associations have signed our letter to Congress. Add your company or SRA to the list. Contact Michelle Neblett, email@example.com. Sign-ons will be accepted until noon EST on Friday, July 18. Letter draft http://bit.ly/1n4sqkj.
8.) PROMOTE THE U.S. FOR GLOBAL TOURISM–We’ve put our support behind H.R. 4450, the Travel Promotion, Enhancement and Modernization Act of 2014, to reauthorize Brand USA, the 2010 initiative to promote the United States as a global tourism destination. Brand USA is funded through a combination of private-sector investment and matching funds generated from those who come to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program. We sent a letter asking a House subcommittee to support the bipartisan legislation, and they approved it today. NRA letter http://bit.ly/1n6pWYp
—TOURISM FUELS RESTAURANTS–We’re asking Congress to support reauthorization of the JOLT Act, which would update the Visa Waiver Program to make it easier for travelers from certain countries, including Brazil, Poland, Israel and Chile to visit the U.S. Fact Sheet http://bit.ly/U7PCqO Tweet your support with the hashtag #JOLTAct.
9.) KEEP SUMMER TRAVELERS MOVING–We’re in the midst of the peak summer travel season and the federal Highway Trust Fund is about to go bust. The fund needs $8 billion just to keep operating through the rest of the year. If Congress doesn’t authorize the funding, important highway and transit projects could be put on hold, meaning more delays for travelers and lost business for restaurants. We signed on to the U.S. Travel Association’s letter urging Congress to make the necessary investments in U.S. transportation infrastructure. USTA letter http://bit.ly/1r1rPFV
10.) NEW LIFE FOR BILL TO COMBAT PATENT TROLLS?–Sen. Patrick Leahy, chair of the Judiciary Committee, says he isn’t giving up his effort to pass legislation limiting patent trolls’ ability to bring frivolous infringement actions against businesses. We support those efforts. Restaurants and hotels have been a major target of patent trolls in recent years for their use of certain technologies, like free, in-store WiFi and online store locaters. A Burlington Free Press article explains how the legislation failed, and what might bring it back. http://bfpne.ws/1tMYPoT