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HAPPENINGS AFFECTING OUR INDUSTRY
NAMA Participates in MDVA's 50th Annual Convention at Boyne Mountain Resort
NAMA senior team members Dan Mathews and Chip Potter and Government Affairs Committee Chair Jeff Smith recently attended the 50th Michigan Distributors & Vendors Association Convention at the historic Boyne Mountain Resort in Boyne Falls, Michigan.
MDVA, founded in 1947, represents two significant business segments in Michigan, including wholesale grocery and convenience distributors and vending and food service operators. The membership is comprised of individual and family-owned businesses, often second, third or fourth generation companies. This year more than 270 participants were in attendance, including MDVA members, their families and Michigan state legislators.
"The MDVA Convention is our biggest and most impactful advocacy event, and this year was particularly special as we celebrated our 50th year at Boyne Mountain," said Polly Reber, MDVA President.
GOVERNMENT AFFAIR NEWS — FEDERAL & STATE
NLRB Ruling Puts More Companies on the Hook For Temporary Workers
Contract workers and other temporary employees will be able to more easily unionize following a landmark ruling Thursday, Aug. 27, by a U.S. federal labor regulator.
The ruling from the National Labor Relations Board will ripple through the fast-food, construction and other industries that rely heavily on contract workers and employees of franchisees. Previously, such companies were considered by law to be a step removed from many of their workers when certain labor disputes arose.
The decision, which came in a 3-2 vote on a single case before the board involving sanitation workers, is the latest to attempt to tackle the core question of who counts as an employee in a modern economy that is increasingly reliant on shift work, contract workers and other temporary employees.
US Department of Labor Publishes Proposed Amendments to Overtime Rules
The U.S. Department of Labor finally published the long-awaited proposals to amend the "white collar" exemptions for executive, administrative, professional and highly compensated exempt employees. The DOL's proposed changes seek to significantly increase the minimum salary an employee must earn to qualify for a white collar exemption, or for the highly compensated employee exemption. The proposed overtime rules may also make changes to the exempt duties tests as well. What those potential changes are, however, remain unclear.
Over a year ago President Barack Obama announced his intention to modify the overtime regulations, which were last updated in 2004. In March 2014, President Obama directed Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to "modernize and streamline" the regulations. Through the proposed regulations, the DOL "seeks to update the salary level required for exemption to ensure that the FLSA's intended overtime protections are fully implemented, and to simplify the identification of nonexempt employees, thus making the executive, administrative and professional exemption easier for employers and workers to understand and apply." According to the DOL, once effective, the new overtime rules would immediately make nearly 5 million additional workers eligible for overtime in the U.S. Others estimate the proposal would impact more than 10 million workers.
Key Provisions of the Proposal
California: Berkeley Soda Tax Health Gains Could Be Smaller Than Expected
Berkeley's tax on sugar-sweetened beverages — the first of its kind in the U.S. — has not increased prices for consumers by as much as expected, according to a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Daily Caller reports (Bentley, Daily Caller, 8/21).
Background: Berkeley's penny-per-ounce tax took effect on March 1.
The tax generated $116,000 in the first month it was enacted. Berkeley City Council member Linda Maio has estimated that the tax will bring in $1.2 million during the first year (California Healthline, 5/20).
California Minimum Wage Initiative Cleared For Signatures
A union-backed proposal to raise California's minimum wage to $15 an hour was cleared Monday, Aug. 3, to begin collecting signatures for a ballot initiative next year as local efforts continue nationwide to boost the minimum wage to better reflect the cost of living.
The proposal by the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West would increase California's minimum wage by $1 an hour annually until it reaches $15 an hour in 2021. California's current $9 hourly wage, among the highest in the country, is set to increase to $10 next year.
It's the latest in a nationwide effort by unions and other groups to raise the wage. The cities of Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley have approved phased-in increases to eventually take their minimum wage to $15 an hour, and the University of California system and Los Angeles County have adopted similar plans.
California Voters Support Increasing Tobacco Tax, Raising Minimum Wage
About two-thirds of California voters support increasing the state cigarette tax by $2 a pack, and a similar percentage would back a minimum wage hike to $15 an hour, according to a Field Poll released recently.
Proposals to raise the tobacco tax or increase the minimum wage have been introduced in the Legislature or as voter initiatives in recent years. On Wednesday, Aug. 26, health and labor groups unveiled legislation for a $2-a-pack boost in the cigarette tax.
"We are committed to raising the tobacco tax," Anthony Wright, executive director of the advocacy group Health Access California, said in an interview. "We prefer to do it legislatively, but there is an active and aggressive campaign to move it onto the ballot" if necessary.
Calorie Counting is Hot, Sugary Drinks Are Not
It's the stereotype that we've never quite been able to shake: the fat American. The adults who hit up a fast-food drive-thru at least once a day to scarf down burgers and fries. Or the kids who fill up on candy and guzzle soda like water.
For decades, our eating and drinking habits have been a symbol of excess and gluttony, the American dream turned the American nightmare. But at last, things appear to be changing.
New research, much of it reported recently by The New York Times, shows that Americans — children and adults — are consuming fewer calories than they have in years. The decline is the first sustained one since the federal government started tracking obesity rates and caloric intake 40 years ago.
Chicago Businesses Seek to Block 'Fat Tax' on Sugary Drinks
More than 1,000 small- and medium-sized businesses are mobilizing to block a proposed penny-an-ounce "fat tax”" on sugary soft drinks they claim would kill jobs and do nothing to curb obesity.
Sam Toia, president and CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association, denounced the sugar tax championed by the chairman of the Chicago City Council's Health Committee. Toia called it regressive and the tax equivalent of triple jeopardy.
That's because Chicago already levies two taxes on soda pop. They include a 9 percent "fountain drink" tax on syrup and a 3 percent “soft drink” tax on cans and bottles.
The penny-an-ounce tax proposed by Ald. George Cardenas (12th) would be strike three. It would apply to syrup and powders as well as canned and bottled drinks, including juices, teas and sodas.
New York Ban Plan For Sale of Sweet Pop
Bill Would Bar Kids From Buying 16-Ounce Sodas
Stock up, kids, soon you might not legally be able to buy a soda larger than 16 ounces on your own. Assemblyman Matthew Titone, D-Staten Island, is proposing legislation that would ban the sale to minors of sugary drinks 16 ounces or larger. The proposal was first reported by Politico New York.
What exactly that ban might look like isn't clear yet. No bill text was available yet.
But that legislation is likely to have the same definitions as companion legislation Titone bill this month that would require warnings to be placed on sugary drinks and food items similar to what you might find on an adult beverage.
The ominous surgeon general warning-style labels would say something like "Safety warning: Consumer food items and beverages with added sugar contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay."
For definition purposes, sugar-sweetened beverages that have added caloric sweeteners and contain 75 calories or more per 12 fluid ounces and sugar-sweetened food items with added caloric sweeteners containing 75 calories or more per four ounces would need to be labeled, as would the machines that sell them and menus and boards on which they appear.
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