The Other NRA's Lobbyists Are Keeping Workers Poor

How the National Restaurant Association keeps wages down

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 3, 2014 12:48 PM CST

(Newser) – The National Rifle Association has long been the biggest boogeyman on K Street. But there's another NRA that Michele Simon at al-Jazeera thinks deserves some scorn: The National Restaurant Association, which has conducted a "campaign of duplicitous lobbying and outright deception at the expense of the public interest." This NRA has managed to hold minimum wage growth to a glacial pace, particularly at the state level, where it defeated 27 out of 29 attempts to raise wages last year—and won concessions in the other two.

The result: A $15,000 annual salary for full-time minimum-wage workers. Here are the lines the lobbyists use to "defy both democracy and common decency":

  • "We represent mom-and-pops": The NRA endlessly touts individual restaurant owners, but its most influential members are the likes of McDonald's and Burger King.
  • Restaurants power the economy: Well sure... restaurants and the taxpayers who pick up the slack in providing assistance for their underpaid workers. A recent study found the 10 largest restaurant chains accounted for almost 60% of public costs related to low wages.
  • We can't afford higher wages: Except those same 10 chains saw a combined $7.44 billion in profits in 2012, and the McDonald's CEO makes $13.8 million a year.
For more, read the full source.

Protesters call for higher wages for fast food industry workers during a one day strike coinciding with strikes at other fast food restaurants across the country, Aug. 29, 2013, in Atlanta.   (AP Photo/John Amis)
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The NRA, which has a staff of 750 people, spent more than $4 million in 2012 alone currying favor in Washington. But with recent fast-food strikes, the mask of the other NRA is slowly peeling away. - Michele Simon

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