Media Advisory for April 15, 2015
Contact: Maria Myotte, maria@rocunited.org, 720-352-6153

WEDNESDAY — #StopTheOtherNRA Activists Gather in D.C. to Disrupt Corporate Restaurant Lobby’s Annual Lobbying Day

On Tax Day, Activists To Call Out Restaurant Corporations for Exploiting Public Support Programs as Corporate Subsidies, Urge Elected Officials to Stop Taking National Restaurant Association’s Corporate Cash

Washington, D.C. — On Wednesday morning at least 100 people are expected to participate in a direct action in front of the Reagan International Trade Center calling attention to the destructive impacts of the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) lobbying agenda, the trade lobby for the $700 billion restaurant industry.

With annual revenues of over $91 million, 750 staff, and nearly 40 congressional lobbyists, the NRA is one of the most powerful business lobbies in Congress and state legislatures. Its members include Fortune 500 restaurant corporations including Olive Garden parent company Darden, McDonald’s, YUM! Brands, and more.

With nearly 11 million workers, the restaurant industry is one of the fastest growing and largest industries in the country. However, nearly half of all restaurant workers live in or near poverty, and the majority of the country’s lowest paying jobs are restaurant jobs, including the absolute lowest wage: $2.13, the federal tipped minimum wage since 1991. As a result, servers use food stamps at double the rate of the rest of the US workforce and are three-times as likely to live in poverty.

WHO: Restaurant workers from across the country will join a broad coalition of activists including Change To Win, Food Chain Workers Alliance, Food and Water Watch, and more.

WHAT: Creative direct action

WHEN: 8:00am – 9:00am

WHERE: Freedom Plaza, 1455 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington DC

As a result of living off tips, women — who make up the majority of tipped workers — consistently endure sexual harassment on the job. A national survey shows that 90% of women tipped workers report experiencing sexual harassment, while the EEOC has targeted the restaurant industry as the single-largest source of sexual harassment claims with a rate five-times higher than any other industry.

The NRA’s legislative agenda centers on opposing policies that improve working conditions and public health such as minimum wage increases, paid sick days, nutritional menu labeling, and regulation of sodium, trans fats, and sugars.

Taking cues from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the NRA has lobbied successfully to pass legislation that prevents localities from getting to vote on paid sick days, stripping states of their right to enact nutrition labeling requirements, and obstructs the advancement of women’s equality by opposing the Paycheck Fairness Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and the Family Medical Leave Act.

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Co-founded by leading workers’ rights advocate Saru Jayaraman (“One of the top 50 most influential people in the restaurant industry” – Nation’s Restaurant News) ROC United has grown to over 13,000 worker-members across 26 cities in the US, winning 15 worker-led campaigns, totaling $8 million in stolen tips and wages.