New smartphone app: ‘Are you eating ethically?’ Pushes ‘living wage’ scheme that devastated small businesses
Posted on December 10, 2012 at 11:17 PM EST
By Aaron Klein
A liberal work center that coordinates with labor unions has developed a smart phone application to inform diners about whether they are eating in âethicalâ restaurants that provide a so-called living wage to its wait staff.
The Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, founded by immigration lawyer Saru Jayaraman, unveiled the new app for Android and iPhone users. The group also released a 40-page booklet entitled âDinersâ Guide to Ethical Eating.âÂ
The guide is being promoted by the AFL-CIO, the nationâs largest union.
âNow you won’t have to wonder whether your server is sick or if the person preparing your food is being paid a living wage,â writes the AFL-CIO on its website in a posting titled, “Are you eating ethically?”Â
Continues the AFL-CIO description: âThe app makes it easy to find nearby restaurants on a map. You can search and filter restaurants by criteria such as paid sick days, advancement opportunities and living wage. The app also provides a simple way to tweet to restaurants about their working conditions.â
The White House itself indicated support for the âliving wageâ concept in documents obtained by the Associated Press in February 2010.
They showed the Obama administration was considering a new policy that would give an advantage in bids for billions in government contracts to companies that pay workers âliving wagesâ and offer generous benefits.
Obama’s next targets: Walmart, Best Buy?
The âliving wageâ dinersâ guide comes as WND reported last week that a far-left think tank founded with input from President Obama is pushing a plan for private retail stores such as Walmart to create a ânew wage floorâ that hikes workersâ wages by at least 27 percent to $12.25 per hour.
The scheme is outlined in a new study published by Demos, a longtime partner of the disgraced ACORN activist group.
Unmentioned in the Demos study is that the ânew wage floorâ is modeled after another Demos plan for a âliving wageâ that devastated business when it was attempted in some cities in the 1990s as a pet project of ACORN.
According to Demosâ own website, while Obama was a state senator in 1999, he served on the working group that founded Demos.
WND previously reported Demos may have been instrumental in the Obama administrationâs hiring of Van Jones, the former White House âgreen jobsâ adviser who resigned after it was exposed he founded a communist revolutionary organization and called for âresistanceâ against the U.S. government. Jones is now a Demos scholar.
Last month, Demos released a 15-page research paper titled âRetailâs Hidden Potential: How Raising Wages Would Benefit Workers, the Industry and the Overall Economy.â
The extensive paper pointed how out more than 15 million people work in the private retail sector.
âGiven the vital role retail plays in our economy, the question of whether employees in the sector are compensated at a level that promotes American prosperity is of national importance,â Demos argued.
The study provides a chart listing the countryâs biggest retailers, including Walmart, Target, Kroger, Home Depot, Walgreens, Loweâs, Best Buy, Safeway and Macyâs.
The plan urges the enactment of a ânew wage floorâ for the lowest-paid private retail workers equivalent to $25,000 per year â or $12.25 per hour â for a full-time, year-round retail worker at the nationâs largest retail companies, identified as those employing at least 1,000 workers.
âFor the typical worker earning less than this threshold, the new floor would mean a 27 percent pay raise,â notes the study.
Demos claims the ânew wage floorâ would lift 700,000 Americans out of poverty, and more than 1.5 million retail workers and their families would move up from in or near poverty.
The think tank posits the pay hike would create 100,000 or more new jobs, thus stimulating the economy. It surmises the pay increase would cost consumers âjust cents more per shopping trip on average.â
The study, however, does not mention that the template for the ânew wage floorâ is a failed Demos plan urging a âliving wage.â
Previous Demos papers have prescribed the implementation of a higher minimum wage that would âraise the floor for all employeesâ nationwide.
Non-wage benefits such as âsick leave, paid family leave and more control over their work schedulesâ would be included.
One recent Demos report is titled âHelp Wanted: American Needs a Better Jobs Planâ by David Callahan and Tamara Draut, Demosâ co-founder and vice president, respectively.
The Demos executives recommend that government âcan and should play a vigorous role in encouraging employers to create good jobs â perhaps by providing tax incentives that require employers to pay a living wage.â
Such a âliving wageâ is found in the ideology of Karl Marx, author of the 1848 âCommunist Manifesto.â
In his book on the living wage, Donald R. Stabile, professor of economics at St. Maryâs College of Maryland, wrote, âMarx believed that only under communism could he find support for his ultimate goal of a living wage, âFrom each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.ââ
A âliving wageâ was implemented in 80 cities from the mid-1990s to 2003, sometimes spearheaded by ACORN.
In the winter 2003 issue of City Journal, Manhattan Institute scholar Steve Malanga wrote that for more than a decade, a âsavvy left-wing political movement, supported by radical economic groups, liberal foundations and urban activistsâ had lobbied for a âgovernment-guaranteed âliving wageââ
Malanga notes the living wage movement got its start in mid-1990s Baltimore, when a coalition of left-leaning church leaders, unionists and community activists largely led by ACORN began to push for a âsocial compactâ that included a hike in the minimum wage to $6.10 â 43 percent above the federal minimum wage at the time â for service workers in hotels and other businesses in the cityâs redeveloped Inner Harbor, a prime tourist area.
Baltimoreâs then-mayor Kurt Schmoke eventually signed a compromise bill that guaranteed the new $6.10 minimum for workers at any companies contracting with the city. Supporters hailed the increase as a costless victory for low-income workers.
But Baltimoreâs economy soon crashed, with 58,000 jobs disappearing, even as the rest of Maryland added 120,000 jobs and other cities across the country prospered.
âThe living wage bill was just one expression of a fiercely anti-business climate that helped precipitate Baltimoreâs economic collapse,â wrote Malanga.
Another locale that enacted a living wage bill, soon to see its economy burn, was Milwaukee County in Wisconsin, which passed a law increasing the minimum wage only for city-contracted janitors and security guards to $6.25 an hour.
That law was urged on by ACORN and the socialist New Party, which was also instrumental in lobby efforts in Baltimore. The living wage campaign was a main platform of the socialist New Party.
In a controversy never fully addressed by Obama, WND previously reported the New Partyâs own newsletters documented Obama was a member of the party.
The New Party sought to elect members to public office with the aim of moving the Democratic Party far leftward to ultimately form a new political party with a socialist agenda.
The New Party, established in 1992, took advantage of what was known as electoral âfusion,â which enabled candidates to run on two tickets simultaneously, attracting voters from both parties.Â But the New Party went defunct in 1998, one year after fusion was halted by the Supreme Court.
The New Party worked closely with ACORN to promote its candidates.
With additional research by Brenda J. Elliott