Senators Warren, Sanders, & Markey Push National Restaurant Association for Answers Following Report of Misuse of Food Safety Training Funds
In full transparency, the following is a media release from Sen. Ed Markey and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who were elected by voters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to serve the state in Washington DC in the US Senate. Both are Democrats. (government photo)
WASHINGTON DC – United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Peter Welch (D-Vt.), pressed for answers in a letter to National Restaurant Association President and CEO Michelle Korsmo.
The letter follows a New York Times report that revealed the NRA has used $25 million in fees required to be paid by workers for ServSafe food safety classes to “turn waiters and cooks into unwitting funders of its battle against minimum wage increases.”
“We are writing in response to a recent New York Times investigation which revealed that the National Restaurant Association is using millions of dollars in fees paid by food service workers for food safety training courses to instead, ‘largely unbeknown to [the workers]’ – help ‘fund a nationwide lobbying campaign’ against minimum wage increases that would raise these workers’ pay,” wrote the lawmakers. “The Times report revealed that the Restaurant Association, through its ownership of ubiquitous food safety certifier ServSafe, is charging food service employees for employer- or state-mandated courses and then funneling that money into its federal and state lobbying apparatus to fight against basic worker protections like paid sick leave and a livable minimum wage.”
“The Association’s use of workers’ food safety course payments – which are mandatory in some states and required by employers in others – is particularly outrageous because workers who take the course are not adequately informed of how their payments are used, and because the National Restaurant Association has, for decades, led the fight against increases in federal, state, and local minimum wages and improved health benefits,” the lawmakers concluded. “You owe workers an answer as to why you are secretly using their funds to lobby against their interests.”
The lawmakers are urging the National Restaurant Association to respond in full to initial questions about the ServSafe program, its mandatory nature, and how its funds are used no later than March 3, 2023.