NRA Comes to Town to Kill Emeryville's Minimum Wage
Among the most powerful lobbying groups in the United States, the National Restaurant Association (NRA) and its subsidiary, the California Restaurant Association (CRA) have descended on Emeryville, applying their money and influence to try to stop the City Council from voting to institute an increase in the minimum wage.
The NRA/CRA conducted a meeting to strategize talking points at Christie Avenue's Black Bear Diner on March 25th. The pressure has been brought to bare on the City Council and the City Staff; Council members have received many e-mails and they've been actually visited at their homes by paid CRA lobbyists from Sacramento. Perhaps in response, City Hall has shown they are not immune to such lobbying efforts and they have elected to spend taxpayer money to contact every business in town with a letter notifying them of the minimum wage public discussions and encourage their feedback. It's noteworthy that no such letters have been sent to Emeryville residents or the workers that would be affected by a minimum wage increase. Perhaps an oversight on the part of City Hall.
The meeting at the Black Bear Diner was a private closed door affair but it would appear by events transpiring since that meeting, one of the stratagems brought by the lobbyists is for Emeryville's big business to hide behind small business. Big businesses have been consistently quiet while the small businesses have been demonstrably vocal in their appeals to the City Council to rein in the minimum wage. This is probably a good strategy given the fondness Emeryville residents have for small locally serving business and the less than enthusiastic support they have shown for Burger King, I-HOP, Target, Home Depot and such.
In addition to the lobbying by NRA/CRA, the City Council has also received sample legislation crafted to kill the Emeryville minimum wage by the wealthy and powerful Washington DC based American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), known by some as America's premier right wing free market think tank. For years, ALEC has directly written legislation meant to disempower working people for the United States Congress, a cause heartily taken up by the Republican Party across the nation. Much of this legislation has become law.
The City Council will discuss the minimum wage proposal on Tuesday night at 6:30 at City Hall.
The following is a piece on the NRA (sometimes referred to as the other NRA) by the Center for Media and Democracy: