ORLA Poll Finds Restaurant Employees Satisfied With Current Scheduling Practices
[April 26, 2017 - Wilsonville, OR] – The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) announced that a recent Portland Metro Restaurant Workers Survey found 85% of restaurant employees say their work schedule gives them the opportunity to choose how they spend their time and enjoy life. Additionally, over two-thirds of the respondents (68%) indicated they work in a restaurant because of the flexibility to pursue other work or activities.
“The results go to prove what we have already been hearing, loud and clear, from our restaurant community in Oregon; restrictive scheduling bills are a solution to a non-existent problem,” stated Jason Brandt, President & CEO of ORLA. “Restaurant employees in Oregon are happy with the flexibility they are given at their jobs.”
Non-management employees working in all types of Portland Metro area restaurants were invited to participate in the online survey. Participation was anonymous and voluntary. The survey was publicized to the restaurant industry via social media, Poachedjobs.com, and through direct outreach to restaurant owners and managers. More than 400 people started the survey and N=226 completed the survey to the end. The margin of error related to the completed data set is +/- 6.4%.
“Restrictive scheduling requirements implemented in other states have proven to be damaging for employees who work in the hospitality industry. We need to be moving toward creating an environment that is constructive for our employees and businesses at the state level, not detrimental,” Brandt said.
A recent report on the restrictive scheduling law in San Francisco shows after almost one year, employees and employers are unhappy with the law due to lack of flexibility and freedom to make lifestyle choices. Additionally, employees in need of extra income are having more difficulty adding extra work hours.
ORLA is part of a broader business coalition of local employees and employers working together to fight this legislation. A new website, WeWorkForOregon.com, highlights the issues faced by employees and employers around the proposed scheduling laws.
For more information, visit OregonRLA.org/GA.
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association is the leading business association for the foodservice and lodging industry in Oregon, which is comprised of over 9,000 foodservice locations and 2,200 lodging establishments with a workforce of 164,800, and a total economic impact of $8 billion - making it the cornerstone of the economy, career opportunities and community involvement. The association works to advocate, protect, train and promote the foodservice and lodging industry.
ORLA Education Foundation Launches Oregon Tourism Edition of Guest Service Gold® Training
[April 18, 2017 - Wilsonville, OR] — The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) has customized its Guest Service Gold® training program with a tourism focus, featuring real-life stories from Oregon tourism organizations. The project is a collaboration between the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association Education Foundation (ORLAEF) and AHLEI, with the sponsorship of Travel Oregon.
The new Guest Service Gold® Tourism-Oregon Edition is the next step in a relationship that began in the fall of 2015, when ORLAEF signed an agreement with Travel Oregon to be the customer service training provider for the state’s travel and tourism industry, using AHLEI’s Guest Service Gold® and the Certified Guest Service Professional (CGSP®).
“We are very pleased to serve our hospitality partners’ needs by creating a new expanded version of the guest services curriculum,” said Wendy Popkin, ORLA Education Foundation Executive Director. “We appreciate the collaboration with AHLEI and Travel Oregon’s sponsorship so that we could take our concept to reality, and we are excited that it features our state’s own employees representing such a diverse cross-section of our tourism industry. We believe that the use of the curriculum will help provide a common language and platform for our state’s tourism employees with tools that will enable them to create positive and lasting memories for our visitors.”
"We appreciate ORLA Education Foundation’s leadership in delivering a program that enhances the Oregon experience by pairing it with exceptional guest service principles," said Todd Davidson, Travel Oregon CEO. "Outstanding customer service can transform a guest's ordinary experience into a treasured memory. We believe that every single guest in Oregon should be treated to the best customer service in the country, which the latest version of Guest Service Gold® will help to achieve.”
Segments in the tourism-focused Guest Service Gold® feature the following Oregon tourism entities:
Victor Arguelles, Manager of Learning and Development for AHLEI, said that the Oregon tourism-specific edition of Guest Service Gold® is “born in hospitality and comes alive in tourism. The goal is to have a seamless guest experience from the time a visitor lands in the airport in Portland to the time they check out of their hotel, and every step along the way. We want everyone who interacts with them to be committed to delivering the best service experience possible.”
Since AHLEI introduced Guest Service Gold® Making Connections in 2011 and Guest Service Gold® Golden Opportunities in 2015, more than 37,000 individuals have completed the training, with more than 34,000 earning the Certified Guest Service Professional (CGSP®) designation.
For more information on the Oregon program see www.OregonRLA.org/OrGuest.
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association Education Foundation (ORLAEF) strives to provide Oregonians with the resources, skills, and means to pursue meaningful careers in the restaurant, foodservice, hotel, and hospitality industries. ORLAEF is the nonprofit education and training arm of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA), the leading business association for the foodservice and lodging industry in Oregon. ORLA works to advocate, protect, train and promote the foodservice and lodging industry, which is comprised of over 9,000 foodservice locations and 2,200 lodging establishments, with a workforce of 164,800 and a total economic impact of $8 billion.
Drive-Thru Ban Proposed in Portland
Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association and the National Restaurant Association are building a coalition to fight this proposal.
The Portland City Council will soon be voting on a proposal that would ban all new drive-thru windows in the City of Portland. In addition, existing drive-thru windows would become non-conforming uses, meaning they would need to be removed in the case of most rebuilds and remodels. This extreme proposal could still pass with the Portland City Council.
NRA and ORLA are working together to build a coalition to fight this proposal. We need to engage lobbyists, consultants and campaign experts – but we do not have the resources for this campaign. We requesting that all national chains and Portland franchisees contribute to these efforts.
Time is of the essence. If you are willing to contribute, please contact Jason Brandt, President & CEO, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, at JBrandt@OregonRLA.org or call 503.682.4422.
ORLA Advocacy: Fighting for Tip Pooling
ORLA joins other industry associations in legal action against the Department of Labor on a recent rule prohibiting tip pooling for back-of-house workers. Read the latest update and options for restaurateurs to consider.
Tip Pooling has become a legal spider web, given the complicated state-by-state variations. Many jurisdictions have seen court battles with companies defending their tip pooling arrangements, and also have seen the courts sorting out the intricate details of what is and what is not considered a tip pool. In a recent move to further clarify the law, restaurant industry trade associations have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on behalf of restaurants and restaurant employees who share in tips and participate in tip pools. The lawsuit was brought by the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association, the Washington Restaurant Association, the Alaska CHARR and the National Restaurant Association, along with a Portland, Oregon restaurant and an employee of that restaurant.
The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court in Portland, asks the court to declare recent DOL regulations prohibiting back-of-the-house (kitchen) workers from sharing in tips left by customers unlawful and not applicable to restaurants that pay employees who share the tips at least federal or the applicable (if higher) state minimum wage with no tip credit. The District court agreed with the restaurant side’s arguments, again. The case is now on appeal in the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court.
This lawsuit arose after ORLA’s victory in Cumbie v. Woody Woo, Inc. in 2010, allowing tip pooling in the Ninth Circuit, which includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. The Department of Labor published a conflicting “Final Rule” in the Federal Register (76 Federal Register 18832). This conflicting rule amends and implements new tip pooling regulations that conflict in certain areas with the law in some states included in the Ninth Circuit.
DOL’s conflicting regulations state in pertinent part:
Tips are the property of the employee whether or not the employer has taken a tip credit under section 3(m) of the FLSA. The employer is prohibited from using an employee’s tips, whether or not it has taken a tip credit, for any reason other than that which is statutorily permitted in section 3(m): As a credit against its minimum wage obligations to the employee, or in furtherance of a valid tip pool.
The DOL defended its new regulation issued May 5, 2011 on the basis of three points: (1) that the Woody Woo case preceded the 2011 DOL regulation, and therefore was not under consideration or supposedly covered by the ruling; (2) the Woody Woo case was an unpublished decision and thus has no “precedential value;” and (3) that a court’s construction of the statute trumps an agency construction only if the prior court decision follows from the unambiguous terms of the statute and thus leaves no room for agency discretion.
ORLA is working closely with the National Restaurant Association (NRA) to seek declaratory judgment that will resolve the conflict between the Woody Woo decision and the DOL’s later published regulations. Such a judgment is a court decision in a civil case that declares the rights, duties, or obligations of one or more parties in a dispute. Such a judgment will resolve indeterminacy in the law or in its application to facts. A declaratory judgment is legally binding, but does not order any action by a party.
Oregon is not the only state fighting over tip pooling in the Ninth Circuit. In Nevada, the District Court in Las Vegas found the Wynn’s policy requiring dealers to split their tips with floor supervisors and pit bosses unlawful under Nevada. The Wynn originally enacted this policy five years ago to raise the salaries of its pit bosses and supervisors to the level of pay received by dealers. In order to pay their supervisors and pit bosses more, the Wynn (and its sister property the Encore) gave supervisors and pit bosses a $5,000 annual raise and a share of the dealers’ tips. The case will be appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court and any effects will be on hold until that case is decided.
ORLA believes that the Department of Labor has overstepped its bounds in revising regulations on tip pooling without regard to the previous 2010 court case Woody Woo. If the Ninth Circuit issues a declaratory judgment in our favor, upholding its previous Woody Woo decision, it could resolve the tip pooling issue for states in the Ninth Circuit for good.
Strengthening Oregon’s Roads and Bridges
ORLA believes in the importance of a comprehensive transportation plan that funds needed infrastructure projects throughout Oregon. The flow of people, goods, and services is crucial to the success of Oregon’s hospitality industry and the experience of Oregon’s visitors.
ORLA is closely watching the 2017 Oregon Legislature in discussions of potential transportation plan proposals.
'Ban the Box' Limits Employer Screening and Prohibits Employers to Inquire Into Applicant's Criminal History
As of January 1, 2016, it is illegal for employers to include on employee applications any question that requires an applicant to reveal anything about their criminal history. Employers operating in Portland cannot make any criminal history inquiries until after you have extended a conditional job offer. You then are required to consider the nature and seriousness of the crime, the time elapsed since the criminal activity, and the nature of employment being sought before deciding whether rescinding the job offer is a business necessity.
HB 3025 (passed in 2015) prohibits the use of job applications inquiring about an applicant's criminal conviction history. Through the legislative process, this bill underwent substantial revision in both the House and Senate committees. The final amendments read that an employer may not require job applicants to disclose criminal convictions on an initial job application. The only exceptions to this prohibition are employers in law enforcement or the criminal justice system, or those seeking non-employee volunteers.
Nothing in the bill prevents employers from asking about a job applicant's conviction history in interviews. HB 3025 initially allowed a private right of action against violators of the law, but a compromise was reached whereby complaints may be made only to the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI). This is a compromise that was agreed upon by both business and labor representatives, but the legislative leaders even with the compromise would not add a local preemption. Portland does not want to compromise; they want to pass a more extreme measure and the legislature opted to give them that opportunity. ORLA was opposed to the bill without the preemption.
Launching Income Equality in Oregon's Small Businesses
ORLA believes in the importance of income equality inside the walls of Oregon’s small business restaurants and lodging establishments. We believe in the concept so much that we partnered with Democratic and Republican lawmakers this session to introduce the most progressive income equality proposal in the nation. Our proposal? If a front-of-the-house worker is making more than $5 above the minimum wage rate in their region through a combination of their base wage and tips during a given pay period, then the employer can adjust their base wage to $10 an hour, freeing up revenue for kitchen and back-of-the-house staff raises and bonuses.
As it stands now, because Oregon does not have a tip credit and our minimum wage continues to increase, servers see those increases and can end up making as much as four times what back-of-the-house workers make and employers have few options available to help level the playing field.
Defending Lottery Retailers & Commission Rates
Every time the Lottery contract in Oregon comes up for renewal, it gets more contentious. The Legislature continues to introduce bills to lower commissions or negatively affect retailer operations, but to this point not one bill has made it to the floor of either chamber for a vote. The last contract was the first time the Lottery Commission did not cut rates, and there has been no growth in the Lottery.
Retailers have changed their business plans, as well as spent resources attracting and serving lottery customers. If retailers do not place focus on these customers, programs supporting schools, parks, and economic development all suffer. The constant attacks on retailers by legislators, editorial boards, and school groups are making retailers more frustrated. If the attacks continue, the state's entire lottery system will be negatively affected.
Since 78 percent of the money produced by retailers goes to state programs, the decision by a restaurant owner to give up their lottery machines would mean major losses for schools and other services. Restaurant employees could also be impacted, because the reduction in lottery revenues will cause lost jobs and lost benefits.
The Oregon Lottery has been one of the most consistent revenue sources for the State of Oregon and schools since it began in 1984. The only major decline in revenue to the lottery was based on a legislative action, SB 571, which banned smoking in bars and taverns. Even with that decline, it has remained one of the most successful lotteries in the country. Under the current pay structure, the state gets the best deal in the country and retailers are paid the lowest rate of any retailers nationwide. The lower tiers of the two tiered rate structure are starting to impact the Lottery’s market share in Oregon’s gaming market. While gaming in Oregon is growing at about seven to eight percent annually, lottery sales are flat and the state is losing more retailers every year.
The State of Oregon needs to encourage increases in sales and retailer base to grow the lottery. Lowering commission rates runs a larger risk of costing state programs much needed revenues. The State needs to protect and encourage its retailer base, an important partner that has helped to make Oregon's Lottery the most successful in the country.