Washington Restaurant Weekly: WRA and Washington Lodging Association on track to join forces

Washington Restaurant Weekly: WRA and Washington Lodging Association on track to join forces https://wahospitality.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/WashingtonRestaurantWeekly_WebsiteBanner-467x198.jpg

The Washington Restaurant Association and the Washington Lodging Association have made significant progress in their joint effort to create a new, unified hospitality association. The two organizations signed a memorandum of understanding on April 7 that will serve as a blueprint for combining forces. The new hospitality association will leverage the strength of each organization to deliver even greater value to members. It will also have increased capacity to act quickly, with greater resources and greater impact, to meet political and regulatory challenges at both the state and local level.

The combined organization, which has yet to be named, will be based in Olympia, and Anthony Anton, the WRA’s current president and CEO, will lead the new entity. The Board of Directors will be governed for the first two years by an Executive Committee made up of dual officers from WLA and WRA. In 2016, a new Board will be seated that will include nine board members elected based on the number of employees at their restaurant or hotel, six at-large board members and three allied members. The Seattle and Spokane lodging and restaurant chapters will have seats on the Board.

WLA and WRA also partnered in establishing the Hospitality Industry Health Insurance Trust, or H.I.H.I.T., which gives members access to a medical and dental insurance plans not available in the general marketplace. Under the new association, H.I.H.I.T. will continue to offer flexible, affordable insurance designed for the needs of hoteliers and restaurateurs.

The WRA will provide regular updates about the process. Read more…

Special legislative session begins

A special legislative session began on Wednesday. By law, a special session can last up to 30 days. On the legislators’ table are some major tasks, including agreeing on a state budget, education spending and a transportation package. For the most up-to-the-minute information on what is happening during the legislative session, you can sign up to receive our Hot Off the Grill weekly updates by emailing the WRA’s Stephanie Davenport at stephanied@warestaurant.org. And, you can participate in our Government Affairs Committee (GAC) conference calls every Monday at 10:30 a.m. GAC meetings are open to all members. For more information or to participate, please contact the WRA’s Shannon Garland at shannong@warestaurant.org.

WRA prepares for minimum wage push in Olympia

After a poll that showed 69 percent of Olympia residents supporting an increased minimum wage, and a march by $15 Now, there is increased pressure on the Olympia City Council to hike the city-wide minimum wage. Although there may be sentiment to take up the issue by some members of the Council, the Council is concerned about the impact of a wage hike to efforts to re-invigorate the downtown core of Olympia. Hence, it’s unclear if the Council will take up the minimum wage issue, but we have seen issues like this acted on very quickly in other communities. Accordingly, here are steps the WRA is taking to prepare if, indeed, the Council opts to take up the issue:

  • Developed a database of Olympia members so we can communicate rapidly with all of you when, and if, necessary.
  • Initiated a partnership with the Thurston County Chamber. It’s been our experience that working with a broader segment of the business community is an effective approach to working with members of a City Council.
  • The Thurston County Chamber has invited us to their upcoming Board meeting to discuss our experiences working on the minimum wage issue in other communities, and our assessment of public opinion.

Although we are not doing a “call to action” at this time, it never hurts to inform your City Council members of the challenges you face running a small business in Olympia.  Let them know how long you have been in business in Olympia, how many people you employ and how an increase in the minimum wage would impact your business. The WRA can assist you in developing a short message to the Council and mayor. You can reach the Olympia City Council and mayor at (360) 753-8447 or by clicking here. For more information, contact Samantha Louderback, the WRA’s local government coordinator, at SamanthaL@warestaurant.org.

Where the minimum wage issue may go in the future

Minimum wage is becoming a major political issue throughout Washington state. At a Senate hearing, lawmakers gave perspectives on this important issue, and proposed alternatives to address it. While a minimum wage deal is unlikely to emerge this session, this issue is not going away, and this Senate hearing is a good place to look for clues to where the debate may go in the future. And for a good overview of the issue, read this article in Plan Washington.

Don’t miss DineNW radio show – now online

The WRA’s own DineNW radio program is now online. DineNW is the only terrestrial radio talk show about the great food, restaurants and hospitality industry of the Northwest. Listen live every Wednesday, noon-1 p.m., on Tacoma’s KLAY AM – your conversation station.

Washington Restaurant Market Watch: NLRB’s new union election rules – what you need to know

Knowledge is power. Never was this truer for restaurant operators than with two current rulings of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on union elections and joint employers. It is essential that restaurateurs familiarize themselves with these rules and prepare accordingly.

In this post, we will examine the NLRB’s new rule on union elections. Read more…