Thursday, September 14, 2006

Labor Props LO for Mother's/Min. Wage Issue

It's always nice to receive credit for something, and we're pleased that in the current issue of the biweekly NW Labor Press, there's a blurb highlighting our involvement in the Lisa Schroeder "tip credit" controversy:
So it was that Schroeder’s past support of tip credit came up again this year in early September after a group of Democratic Party leaders announced a women’s voter-turnout strategy luncheon would take place Sept. 14 at Mama Mia Trattoria.

The choice of venue came in for criticism on the blog loadedorygun. Event organizers began getting e-mails and calls asking that they change the location.

Pro-union political consultant Kari Chisholm heard Schroeder had changed her views, and invited her to set the record straight on his widely-read blog; in a Sept. 5 guest column, Schroeder pled innocent, saying she’d become “a sacrificial lamb for the ORA and a scapegoat for the AFL-CIO,” which had “falsely portrayed [her] as a greedy restaurant owner.”
[Past OR AFL-CIO President Tim] Nesbitt said regardless of what led her to the change, minimum wage defenders are delighted to have one less adversary.

"It's like the Bible says: 'There's more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents …'" [emph mine]
One thing that the article brings up that I touched on over at BlueO, but which I haven't remarked on here as yet: if you notice, the event was in fact still held at Mamma Mia's, as the result of a sit-down between Schroeder and current OR AFL-CIO Prez Tom Chamberlain. I don't necessarily think that was the wrong thing to do, but it's worth mentioning that Chamberlain changed his position a couple times in the space of one weekend. We started our reportage on Friday morning, and by Friday afternoon it was made clear to us that Chamberlain was not happy, and that the event would be moved. Somewhere over the next day or so, that morphed into meeting with Schroeder, and moving it UNLESS she agreed to stay neutral in any union organizing at her restaurants. Not to support it, mind you--just not to oppose it.

But by the time the conversation was over, the terms had flipped from "do this before we'll have it there," to "we'll have it there unless you don't restate what you'd already admitted." And note that the union neutrality issue disappeared from the agenda entirely. Did she refuse? Did Chamberlain not even bring it up? I hate to put these questions out there, because the lunch meeting has already happened, and in the long run it's probably best to let things lie as they stand--a former backer of tip credits is now very publicly against them. I'm just saying, is all...!