Labor and Policy


  • A person holds a cappuccino from The Wydown inside The Apollo on H Street NE.
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    The image by Ted Eytan is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
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    Deep Dive

    Workers at DC’s Wydown cafes got organized. Then they lost everything.

    The owners of the two-unit coffee chain shut down operations in the middle of a union drive, leaving workers fighting for severance.

    By May 29, 2024
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    Spencer Platt via Getty Images
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    NLRB judge tells Starbucks to rescind ‘respectful communication’ policy

    The employer also must reinstate an employee fired for alleged violation of the rule, the judge ruled.

    By Ginger Christ • May 24, 2024
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    Drew Angerer via Getty Images
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    Trendline

    Workforce Challenges

    The recovering restaurant labor market is still unstable, marked by growing worker demand and a small talent pool, pressuring businesses to adapt their staffing strategies. 

    By Restaurant Dive staff
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    Justin Sullivan via Getty Images
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    Red Lobster worker sues over WARN Act violation

    The seafood chain gave no warning of closures to workers, and in one case management reassured workers their store was profitable, per the suit.

    By May 24, 2024
  • Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su testifies before the Senate Appropriations Committee.
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    Chip Somodevilla / Staff via Getty Images
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    DOL overtime expansion ‘unlawful,’ business groups argue

    The Restaurant Law Center joined other business groups in a lawsuit in the same court that enjoined an Obama-era overtime rule.

    By Caroline Colvin • May 23, 2024
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    Stephen Maturen via Getty Images
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    Minnesota restaurants, delivery services must disclose service fees to consumers

    The state joined California in passing a law requiring the disclosure of all mandatory fees consumers face beginning in January.

    By May 22, 2024
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    Don Wu via Getty Images
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    Grubbrr CEO: Automation could make restaurants a high-wage, high-productivity business

    Kiosks may not be a silver bullet for labor troubles — they seem better suited to boost check sizes — but they may be part of a gradual transformation of restaurant work, Sam Zietz said. 

    By May 21, 2024
  • A Starbucks union member speaks into a megaphone
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    Michael M. Santiago via Getty Images
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    NLRB judges rule Starbucks participated in unfair labor practices in 2 cases

    In one case, an NLRB judge found Starbucks fired a shift supervisor for closing a store early over staffing issues, which is a protected union activity.

    By May 14, 2024
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    Permission granted by Fat Brands
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    Feds indict Andrew Wiederhorn, Fat Brands in $47M loan scheme

    Wiederhorn was slapped with a litany of charges including tax evasion, wire fraud and possession of a firearm as a convicted felon.

    By May 10, 2024
  • California's Attorney General Rob Bonta speaks at a press conference.
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    Justin Sullivan via Getty Images
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    California bans hidden fees starting July 1

    The state will require businesses to include all mandatory fees in listed prices, making it harder for restaurants to impose service charges.

    By May 9, 2024
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    Rex_Wholster via Getty Images
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    NLRB appeals joint employer ruling to 5th Circuit

    A federal judge vacated the Board’s joint employer final rule in March, holding that it was “contrary to law” and “arbitrary and capricious.”

    By Ryan Golden • May 7, 2024
  • President Joe Biden speaks at UAW event in Warren, Michigan
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    Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images
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    Biden vetoes bill against joint employer rule

    The president scotched Congressional efforts to block a broadened definition of joint employment, though court decisions may yet kill the rule.

    By May 3, 2024
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    Courtesy of Subway
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    Back to Basics: What builds a good snacking menu?

    Diner demand for specific snack items depends on their mood, time of day and ease of travel, experts said, opening up an array of traffic-boosting innovation opportunities for restaurants. 

    By Danielle McLean • May 1, 2024
  • New York Gov. Kathy Hochul gives a speech on the Hudson River tunnel project at the West Side Yard on January 31, 2023 in New York City.
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    Michael M. Santiago via Getty Images
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    New York becomes first state to mandate paid time off for prenatal care

    Beginning in 2025, pregnant employees will be eligible for 20 hours of leave, separate from the state’s paid family and medical leave.

    By Emilie Shumway • May 1, 2024
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    Courtesy of Sticky's
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    Chicken tender chain Sticky’s Finger Joint files for Chapter 11

    Low foot traffic in Manhattan, exacerbated by high prices for chicken and potatoes, left 12-unit Sticky’s in a weak position.

    By April 26, 2024
  • A bank of windows below a red sign that says "Chipotle." A man stands in the background inside the restaurant.
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    Justin Sullivan via Getty Images
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    Chipotle makes order fulfillment, not fancier tech, its top CX focus

    Faster order speed is “one of those things that cascades into everything being a lot better,” CEO Brian Niccol said.

    By Bryan Wassel • April 25, 2024
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    Starbucks unionization efforts

    Starbucks meets 150 workers at the bargaining table in Atlanta

    While the company still plans store-by-store contract ratification, it is discussing issues impacting all employees with a bargaining committee of union members.

    By April 24, 2024
  • A bank of windows below a red sign that says "Chipotle." A man stands in the background inside the restaurant.
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    Justin Sullivan via Getty Images
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    Study: Chipotle, Starbucks have highest burnout among major restaurants

    Chipotle, which recently added new worker benefits to attract hires, had the second-highest burnout rating of any company in the study, surpassed only by Progressive.

    By April 24, 2024
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    Caroline Colvin/Restaurant Dive
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    DOL will raise overtime salary threshold to $44K in July, $59K next year

    The final rule expands overtime pay eligibility to millions of U.S. workers, the department said.

    By Ryan Golden • April 23, 2024
  • People hold signs while protesting in front of Starbucks on April 14, 2022 in New York City.
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    Michael M. Santiago via Getty Images
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    Starbucks argues before Supreme Court to weaken NLRB’s power

    The coffee titan wants courts to use stricter standards when evaluating injunctions in unfair labor practice cases.

    By April 23, 2024
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    iStockphoto.com/JLco - Julia Amaral

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    Sponsored by Instant Financial

    Breaking it down: Why Gen Z demands pay optionality

    Generation Z demands more flexibility in how they’re paid. Employers need to be ready to embrace these new expectations with options for how employees can be paid.

    April 22, 2024
  • A round red sign hanging off of a glass building that says Chipotle
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    Michael M. Santiago / Staff via Getty Images
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    Chipotle agrees to nearly $3M settlement over alleged paid leave and scheduling violations in Seattle

    The settlement is the largest since the Secure Scheduling Ordinance went into effect in July 2017, the Seattle Office of Labor Standards said.

    By Ginger Christ • April 18, 2024
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    Permission granted by Freddy's
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    Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers franchisee must pay $119K for child labor violations

    The operator of seven Alabama Freddy’s locations employed 149 children under 16 years old to work longer hours than permitted by law. 

    By April 18, 2024
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    Courtesy of Bojangles
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    Bojangles to enter Los Angeles market in 2025

    California’s recent wage hike hasn’t stopped the chicken chain from committing to open 30 units in the Golden State, continuing its national expansion.

    By April 16, 2024
  • A car sits at a drive-thru at a McDonald's restaurant on a sunny day with a blue sky.
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    Justin Sullivan via Getty Images
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    McDonald’s brought back bagels. Are CA wages the cause?

    Leadership said the Golden State’s $20 wage law could help the chain take share from competitors. The bagel sandwich’s return may be part of that effort.

    By , April 12, 2024
  • U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V.,  listens during a hearing before Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee of Senate Appropriations Committee.
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    Alex Wong via Getty Images
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    Senate kills joint employer rule, setting up veto battle

    With a presidential veto likely and federal courts considering the rule, the fate of the National Labor Relations Board’s joint employer standard is tenuous. 

    By April 11, 2024