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The secret sauce behind leading opponents of a minimum wage increase

4/8/2014, 2:14 p.m.
There’s a heated debate going on in Congress and many state capitols this spring over raising the minimum wage. One ...

For perspective, compare the Restaurant Association’s revolver profile to that of the other NRA powerhouse in Washington – the National Rifle Association. While the two had virtually identical lobbyist counts last year (37 for restaurants, 33 for rifles), the Restaurant Association had nearly twice as many revolvers as the gun lobby (27 to 15).

The Restaurant Association’s members have invested heavily in insiders, too. The companies listed above tripled their combined revolver count from 28 to 91 over 1998-2013 (their non-revolvers only increased from 28 to 36). Talk about super-sizing your insider influence.

So the Restaurant Association and its biggest members together have more than a hundred “insider trading” lobbyists pushing their agenda in Congress. How many do minimum wage workers have, again?

If it seems surprisingly hard to raise the minimum wage, despite overwhelming public support, we’ll know why: the restaurant industry’s legions of revolving door lobbyists are using their insider influence to keep a wage increase right where the NRA wants it: in the deep freezer.


LeeAnn Hall is the executive director of the Alliance for a Just Society, a national organizing and policy network that works with state-based organizations to build campaigns for economic and racial equity. Saru Jayaraman is the Director of the Food Labor Research Center at UC Berkeley, the author of national best-seller Behind the Kitchen Door, and co-founder & co-director of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United).