facebook linkedin twitter

Restaurants Urge Congress to Forgo Minimum Wage Hike

February 16, 2021 by TWN Staff
Sidewalk seating at a local restaurant. (Photo by Dan McCue)

The National Restaurant Association is urging Congress not to increase the federal minimum wage as part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

The association said in a letter sent to congressional leaders Tuesday that fast-tracking a minimum wage hike to $15 an hour would only cause more suffering for its members who have struggled throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

The letter goes on to say that raising the federal minimum wage right now would have the unintended consequence of pushing more employees off payrolls, raising menu prices, and forcing more restaurants to close permanently.

The Raise the Wage Act was introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., last month. It calls not only for raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15, but also for phasing out the tipped minimum wage for restaurant service workers.

Senate Democrats are divided on the issue, many contending that the wage hike has nothing to do with COVID relief.

According to the restaurant association, “passage of this bill this year would lead to job losses and higher use of labor-reducing equipment and technology.”

“Nearly all restaurant operators say they will increase menu prices. But what is clear is that raising prices for consumers will not be enough for restaurants to absorb higher labor costs,” Sean Kennedy, executive vice president for Public Affairs for the National Restaurant Association, continued.

As for Sen. Sanders tip proposal, Kennedy said eliminating the tip credit “will hurt millions of servers who rely on the current system where they earn between $19-$25 an hour with tips.”

The bolster its point, the association pointed to a recent survey of its members that found 82% of restaurant operations say the initial wage increase would negatively impact their ability to recover from the pandemic.

The percentage is even higher among franchisee-owned restaurants, 90% of whom said the initial wage increases would have a negative impact on their ability to recover.

The survey also found that raising the federal minimum wage and eliminating the tip credit would force 98% of restaurant operators to increase their menu prices; 84% to cut jobs and employee hours; and 75% to cut employee benefits.

Full service and franchisee owned restaurants are most likely to have to make changes that impact their workforce if the federal minimum wage is increased or the tip credit is eliminated, the association said.

Nearly 65% of operators said they would be likely to add labor-reducing equipment or technology if the law went into effect.

“The survey results make it crystal clear that the restaurant industry and our workforce will suffer from a fast-tracked wage increase and elimination of the tip credit,” Kennedy concluded. “Restaurant jobs will be critical to every local community recovering from the pandemic, but the Raise the Wage Act will negate the stimulative impact of a worthy plan. We share your view that a national discussion of wage issues for working Americans is needed – but the Raise the Wage Act is the wrong bill at the wrong time for our nation’s restaurants.”

To assess the potential impact of a proposed increase in the federal minimum wage, the National Restaurant Association conducted a survey of 2,000 restaurant operators February 2-9, 2021.

Employment

October 21, 2021
by Dan McCue
Renewable Energy Jobs Reach 12 Million Worldwide, Report Says

The number of people working in the renewable energy sector worldwide reached 12 million last year, up from 11.3 million... Read More

The number of people working in the renewable energy sector worldwide reached 12 million last year, up from 11.3 million in 2019, according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency. The eighth edition of “Renewable Energy and Jobs: Annual Review 2021,” was written... Read More

US Jobless Claims Fall to New Pandemic Low of 290,000

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to a new low point since... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to a new low point since the pandemic erupted, evidence that layoffs are declining as companies hold onto workers. Unemployment claims dropped 6,000 to 290,000 last week, the third straight drop, the... Read More

Businesses Nervously Await Fine Print of Vax-or-Test Rule

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than six weeks after promising a new vaccination-or-testing rule covering the millions of Americans at companies... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than six weeks after promising a new vaccination-or-testing rule covering the millions of Americans at companies with 100 or more workers, President Joe Biden's most aggressive move yet to combat the COVID-19 pandemic is almost ready to see the light of day. ... Read More

Commerce Head Out to Save US Jobs, 1 Computer Chip at a Time

WASHINGTON (AP) — Gina Raimondo only wears watches made by Bulova — a company that laid off her scientist father,... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — Gina Raimondo only wears watches made by Bulova — a company that laid off her scientist father, closed its Rhode Island factory and moved production to China in 1983. The watches give Raimondo, the U.S. commerce secretary, a sense of mission as President... Read More

Nursing Schools See Applications Rise, Despite COVID Burnout

STORRS, Conn. (AP) — Nurses around the U.S. are getting burned out by the COVID-19 crisis and quitting, yet applications... Read More

STORRS, Conn. (AP) — Nurses around the U.S. are getting burned out by the COVID-19 crisis and quitting, yet applications to nursing schools are rising, driven by what educators say are young people who see the global emergency as an opportunity and a challenge. Among them... Read More

Americans Quit Their Jobs at a Record Pace in August

WASHINGTON (AP) — One reason America's employers are having trouble filling jobs was starkly illustrated in a report Tuesday: Americans... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — One reason America's employers are having trouble filling jobs was starkly illustrated in a report Tuesday: Americans are quitting in droves.  The Labor Department said that quits jumped to 4.3 million in August, the highest on records dating back to December 2000, and... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top