Friday, January 6, 2017

Helping Protect The Viability Of Oregon's Restaurant Industry

2017 is upon us and with it comes another significant legislative session chalk full of debates around the budget, labor laws, and transportation funding. If you haven't made plans on February 28, please set aside the date for our industry. We have an opportunity to connect you with your legislators that day in Salem's Capitol building.

We know there are real issues on the horizon in Salem and we will not be able to be effective without your engagement and commitment to stay educated as priorities emerge. Front and center will be paid family leave legislation and restrictive scheduling laws that create even more pressures on Oregon's small businesses in the wake of new minimum wage laws and paid sick leave. We must be involved in these conversations to protect the viability of Oregon's restaurant industry.

As you may have heard, we have our own proactive priorities we hope will be considered including more balance in compensation between kitchen staff and wait staff as well as a comprehensive transportation package to improve mobility and access to Oregon's restaurant scene. In addition, you probably know we are in the middle of filing appropriate paperwork to the United States Supreme Court to fight for the rights of our members to implement a tip pooling policy between wait staff and kitchen staff here in Oregon.

The 91 people in Oregon's Capitol building over the next six months have their hands full and they'll need our help to make wise and thoughtful decisions that benefit Oregonians. The biggest issue continues to be balancing Oregon's budget and making sure spending is reined in based on resources available. Our state budget continues to grow (over eight percent growth) but spending is growing at a more rapid pace. In order to be effective, Oregon's legislators will first be challenged by the give and take of Oregon's budget balancing process.

We expect the upcoming legislative session to be one of the most challenging in recent memory. The politics at the national level could create a more abrasive environment at the state level. Those dynamics will make your business story and your willingness to show up in Salem more important than ever.

Take us up on our February 28 invitation. Make a difference in 2017 for Oregon's hospitality industry and as always, thank you for making the decision to be in business and employ your fellow Oregonians.

For more information on ORLA's Day at the Capitol, email Greg Astley, director of government affairs at RSVP at | Jason Brandt, President & CEO, 
Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association