Thursday, May 7, 2015

Darden Restaurants Epitome of Greed

Countries that have a democracy-type of government have to be a country of laws and the laws must be equal for all. Of course, the laws are made by the government, who the people vote for. Here is the problem—with the laws now that let the 1 percent buy the people we elect and these elected politicians sit in the pockets of the corporations. This is how the restaurant lobby, run by Darden Restaurants, which is the largest owner of restaurants, such as Olive Garden, Yard House, Capital Grill, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, Longhorn Steakhouse, and Eddie V’s. It pays a base pay of $2.13 an hour; all other wages must come from tips. The $2.13 pay was a deal brokered between the restaurant lobby and Congressman John Boehner’s Republican Congress. The deal was that restaurant lobbyists would not oppose a little minimum wage hike and in turn the government would freeze the $2.13 base wage just for restaurants. Darden has 2,100 restaurants with 200,000 employees, and paid out $14 million in fines, but with a $400 billion food industry this is lots of money to pay fines and to pay lobbyists. When employers steal wages from workers, the workers are afraid to expose or to ask for their wages because they could lose their jobs. Most settlements that are won include a gag order so no one can tell, but most that do win will never be paid because the laws favor the owners and one of the laws is the owners can declare bankruptcy and do not have to pay anything yet they can go across the street and open another restaurant. The U.S. has become a low-wage country, and the low-wage retail and fast food and restaurants now are starting to pay their workers with debit cards and charge a fee, which is a pay roll fee. The only hope is for unions and new laws. The food industry is 5 percent unionized. This is a world problem and the U.S. should be the country that sets the standard for a living wage and benefits, which should be done as a civil right. The wage slaves, who drives the capitalist system, need and are starting to fight for a living wage, good full-time jobs, good food, shelter, free education, a minimum wage of $15 to$18 an hour, pensions, and rent payments for our Commons, which are owned by the citizens of here and the citizens worldwide.