Wed 12/11: Ethical eating isn’t just about the food on your plate. Fight for the servers too! Deadline to comment is tonight, 11:59pm EST!

Action #1: Please comment until the deadline tonight on the restaurant industry’s $700 million dollars-a-year money grab from tipped servers.

The deadline to write in is tonight, Wed. (12/11), 11:59 pm EST! Take the length of time you’d eat a quick meal and make a comment.

Will my comment make a difference? Yes. See action #3 below.

Information on this action is here

  • Write a comment here
  • Read the proposal here
  • Other comments, which are almost all from restaurant owners/managers are here. However, there are now some comments for the workers. Please add your comment as well. Have you ever been a server? A bartender? Did you get the subminimal wage?

Action #2: The House passed H.R. – Raise the Wage Act. The Senate needs to pass S.150!

Ask your senators to give the gift of basic economic stability for those now stuck with subminimal wages. S.150 – Raise the Wage Act amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (really – 1938) to increase the federal minimum wage for regular employees over a 7-year period, for tipped employees, and for newly hired employees who are less than 20 years old.

Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want to thank Sen. (Feinstein/Harris] for supporting worked by co-sponsoring S.150 – Raise the Wage ActIs your senator on this list? If not, amend the script accordingly.

Contact:
Senator Feinstein: email, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
and Senator Harris: email, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (213) 894-5000, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 355-9041, SD (619) 239-3884
Who is my representative/senator?: hq-salsa.wiredforchange.com 

 

Action #3: YES, PUBLIC COMMENTS MATTER! Learn more here to share with your friends and family.

  • Comment campaigns expand the scope of the conflict. Many rulemakings proceed to the final rule stage with very little public input, but public comment campaigns engage hundreds, sometimes thousands, of individuals in the rulemaking process. The comment section for the tipping action above was filled with form letters from the restaurant industry… until yesterday.
  • Comment campaigns draw greater public scrutiny to a proposed rule and the background of the issue, causing lawmakers and the media may pay greater attention to both the rule and the groups sponsoring the campaign. Comment campaigns cost little and help even the playing field between activists and heavily-funded industry groups.
  • Comment campaigns may give leaders the cover they need to pursue policies that face political opposition.
    • For instance, during a Republican-led House committee on a 2011 clean air rule, an EPA official testified that There is tremendous public support for moving forward with these rules…we have received over 800,000 comments from across the country in support of [the proposed rule].
    • Similarly, when President Trump signed an executive order initiating the repeal of the Obama-era WOTUS rule, he pointed to the rule’s strong opposition from farmers, ranchers, and agricultural workers, driven by  47 comment campaigns (representing more than 27,000 individual commenters) urging the agency to abandon the rule, including a “Ditch the Rule” campaign sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation.
  • The agency is required to review all comments submitted during a public comment period.While it does not have to explain why it did (or did not) make changes suggested by the comments, it does need to address significant issues that were raised, the types of comments it received and whether it made any changes to its proposed rule based on those comments. 
  • Your comments are important to support possible legal challenges. An agency may finalize a regulation even if commenters oppose the changes, which can result in court challenges. The agency then has to justify the changes it made in the face of comments and data opposing the changes. All the comments submitted become part of the “administrative record” and are reviewed by the court to determine if the agency can make the changes it wants. If the court finds the agency wasn’t justified, the court can prevent the agency from implementing the new regulation.
  • Has this actually worked? Yes. The National Health Law Program challenged decisions by Health and Human Services (HHS) to allow three states to impose work requirements (and other harmful policies) in Medicaid. The public comments overwhelmingly opposed the proposals, including those explaining that the changes would harm them personally by causing them to lose Medicaid. Other commenters discussed studies and data that show work requirements don’t work.When challenged  in court, the judge specifically noted the opposition to the proposals in the public comments and decided that HHS did not consider the impact on people who would lose health coverage. The result is that the judge stopped work requirements in these three states. The comments really did make a difference!
  • What should I write? I’m not an expert…
    • You do NOT need to be an expert on the matter.
    • Establish your credibility in an opening sentence that shares who you are and provides a quick summary of the experiences that are relevant to the rule.
    • Your comments can be brief or in-depth and well researched; there’s a 5,000-character limit within the text box in the regulations.gov portal, but longer comments can be submitted through the portal as an attachment, or printed and mailed in. Comments can address one or two specific aspects of the proposed rule, fully address all points, or address the subject in a general manner.
    • If you’re not sure where to start, select those issues which concern and affect you the most, or which you understand the best and focus on those.
      • Focus on 1-2 specific aspects of your personal or family story that inform your opinion and perspective. These may include your family’s story, personal experience working to advance human rights, and whether you have experience accessing a benefit or assistance program the rule would affect.
      • Tell the official you are writing to why this proposed rule would hurt or benefit someone like you and how it goes against or honors the values you hold dear.
    • Highlight relevant data about your connections to the issue and why your opinion on this rule is essential.
    • Make sure to highlight any particular expertise or credentials, for example, “I have taught Civics in public school for 20 years.”
    • If you disagree with a proposal, you can suggest an alternative (including not regulating at all).

Reading:

 

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