Weekly Update: Seattle hotel Initiative 124 update

Weekly Update: Seattle hotel Initiative 124 update https://wahospitality.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/WashingtonRestaurantWeekly_WebsiteImageNew.png

Last week the WLA filed a ballot title challenge to Initiative 124, which is a proposed ballot initiative in Seattle to implement many onerous workplace provisions on hotel employers. The initiative is shepherded by Unite HERE Local 8. The ballot title failed to accurately reflect the substance of the proposed measure and would have been misleading for voters leading people to believe that the measure addresses only health and safety; when it actually included many labor and employment terms.. Signature gathering on the measure could not be done until the court ruled on the title. Today, the court ruled on a much more accurate and in-depth title that included, among other things:

• Changing the language surrounding healthcare from “paying for access” to “improving access” to healthcare,
• Notation that these requirements could be waived for collective bargaining,
• Notation that retaining lists of “accused guests” would be required,
• Changing the wording from “large hotels” to “certain-sized” hotels.

While these may not make seem like large changes the difference in how the title reads is now much more accurate and demonstrates how the measure would impact businesses. Unite here now has to gather 20,638 valid signatures and submit them no later than August 2 to qualify for the November ballot. At that point the city council has several options. They can choose to pass the initiative as an ordinance, reject it, fail to act upon it, or reject it and pass a similar measure. We updated members the first time about I-124 a few weeks ago. You can read the full article here.

FDA releases final menu labeling guidance: Enforcement expected to begin in May 2017

On April 29, the Food and Drug Administration released its final guidance on the federal menu-labeling rule and is expected to publish notice of the guidance in the Federal Register later this week. Compliance and enforcement will start in May 2017, one year after publication. The menu labeling final rule applies to restaurants and similar retail food establishments if they are part of a chain of 20 or more locations, doing business under the same name, and offering for sale substantially the same menu items. The final guidance provides answers to some of the questions the National Restaurant Association and member companies raised after the agency’s September 2015 draft guidance. The NRA we will continue to work with the FDA to address outstanding industry concerns now that there is a set date for compliance. Read more…

Be sure to check your mailbox for latest issue of Washington Restaurant & Lodging Magazine

Check your mailboxes for the May 2016 issue of Washington Restaurant & Lodging Magazine. This great issue focuses on ways the hospitality industry can connect with its communities. It will be in the mail tomorrow.

Seattle Chef Renee Erickson wins James Beard Award: Congratulations!

Chef Renee Erickson, owner of Seattle’s Sea Creatures restaurants, is a 2016 James Beard Award winner after being a finalist for three years in a row in the Best Chef Northwest category. While this is a wonderful personal victory for female chefs, in general, who did very well in important national categories at this year’s Beard Awards. Including Renee, there were six female chefs honored at the Beard Awards. Congratulations, Renee!

DOL may lower proposed overtime threshold to $47,000

The U.S. Department of Labor may lower the salary threshold to $47,000 in its forthcoming final rule to extend overtime coverage. This information comes from sources familiar with the deliberations. The overtime salary threshold determines the level below which nearly all salaried employees can qualify for time-and-a-half pay if they work more than 40 hours in any given week. In a rule proposed in July, the threshold was $50,440. The $47,000 threshold that may be under consideration would be approximately exactly double the current threshold, which is below a family of four’s poverty line. A final rule is expected in mid-May.

Save the date: State of the Industry Forum, June 8

Don’t miss this year’s State of the Industry Forum. You’ll receive an update on the challenges facing our industry and a look at this year’s election environment, restrictive scheduling and tip pooling. The State of the Industry Forum will bring you up to date on key developments in Washington’s hospitality industry and help you better understand and meet challenges facing your business. Additionally, there will be great opportunities for networking, door prizes, good fun and an excellent breakfast courtesy of our partners at FareStart. This State of the Industry Forum will be on June 8, 7:30 a.m.-noon at the Goodwill Job Training & Education Center, 700 Dearborn Place South, Seattle. Register now.

Olympia citizens seeking income tax to fund free college

A group called Opportunity for Olympia wants to tax high-income households to fund at least one year of free college for high school graduates. The initiative would tax households making $200,000 per year at a rate of 1.5 percent. A petition is circulating in the city with a goal of collecting 4,702 valid signatures by June 16 to get the initiative on the November ballot. Some tax experts believe that even if voters approve the initiative, it may lose an anticipated court challenge. The WRA team is closely monitoring the process and will keep you up to date.

The Cloverleaf and Brouwer’s Café on DineNW radio show – listen online

Don’t miss this week’s DineNW radio show, online. Andy Cook and Paul Schlienz interview Debbie Brese, owner of The Cloverleaf, known for its world famous pizza in Tacoma. Ross Boylan joins Paul to interview Nat Pellman, general manager of Brouwer’s Café in Seattle.

Washington Restaurant Market Watch: Breakfast wars

Customers love all-day breakfast, and McDonald’s numbers prove it. The global quick service chain, which had been struggling, has made a stunning comeback since it instituted all day breakfast last year. Just last week, McDonald’s reported a 35 percent increase in profits for the quarter that ended on March 31. This gain was surprisingly large and clearly driven by the company’s decision to sell some breakfast items throughout the day. This was McDonald’s third consecutive quarter of positive results. Sales in McDonald’s stores open at a minimum of one year increased by 6.2 percent across the U.S., much better than Wall Street expected for the company’s essential American market. Read more…