( – promoted by Colorado Pols)
Disclaimer: I’m working on the Campaign for a Healthy Denver
Earlier this week the Campaign for a Healthy Denver and the Restaurant Opportunity Centers United (ROC) released a research report (summary here) exposing the motives and true agenda of the National Restaurant Association (NRA) – one of the national lobbying powerhouses funding the opposition to paid sick days Initiative 300 in Denver. Deep-pocketed lobbyists are waging a fight to keep profits high at the expense of public health.
National Restaurant Association Executive V.P. Rob Gifford told Nation’s Restaurant News: “Denver should not be viewed in isolation.”
Under the umbrella of Keep Denver Competitive,” the NRA and the Hospitality Industry PAC, at least $645,270 has been raised to date to keep workers from being able to earn paid sick time. While some opposition funding has come from corporate CEOs and lobbyists based in Denver, a significant portion has come from out of state players.
The NRA based in Washington, D.C. is the single largest contributor to the opposition and has given more than $100,000 to defeat this initiative. More than a quarter of a million dollars of the opposition’s donations are from out of state – and many of the local restaurants that have contributed to the campaign against the paid sick days initiative are part of large, profitable national chains, including Pizza Hut, KFC, Taco Bell, Buffalo Wild Wings and Morton’s of Chicago. Just last weekend multinational companies like Brinker International and Coca-Cola participated in a Williamsburg Virginia golf tournament to raise money to defeat Initiative 300.
This $6 billion industry opposes every single modest public health and workplace standard, from paid sick leave, lower blood alcohol levels for DUI’s, smoke-free workplaces, changes in the minimum wage, overtime pay and even creating space in restaurants for nursing mothers, nationally and in Colorado. The New York Times reported on the NRA and Herman Cain’s opposition to these policies in a the front page story last Sunday.
In this case, these national players are trying to prevent more than 107,000 Denver workers from being able to stay home when they’re sick – a simple policy that would protect not only co-workers, but us, their customers from catching the flu or whatever contagious illness is going around.
Let’s be clear – this is not about our neighborhood burger joint. There’s an agenda here – and it doesn’t include protecting your health or the ability of workers to stay home when they’re sick.