The ongoing battle between the Golden Gate Restaurant Association and labor activists took a dramatic turn yesterday after a federal judge—spurred by a lawsuit put forth by the GGRA—shot down a health insurance proposal that has been called "innovative" and "groundbreaking." The health insurance law was set to go into effect on January 1 and would have required employers to cover their workers' health insurance or pay a fee. GGRA spokespeople, trying to deflect blame, say that their litigation was only opposed to one aspect of the program:
The judge's ruling came in a lawsuit brought by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, which argued that the mandatory contributions the city sought placed a costly burden on members already struggling to make a profit.
"We specifically asked in our litigation only to throw out the employer mandate and not the rest of the program, which we totally support," said Kevin Westlye, the association's executive director...
Westlye said the employer mandate would more than double the amount that restaurants with more than 100 employees already spend to insure their workers, raising their annual health care costs from about $100,000 a year to more than $250,000.The City plans to appeal the decision, and it already appears that the GGRA is being villainized for its role in this controversy. But what do you think? Restaurants are in the unique position of having large staffs in a competitive industry where statistically speaking, the majority of businesses are destined to fail out of money concerns. Should the GGRA and Co. be criticized for opposing a "groundbreaking" health care plan? Are they just trying to save money or should they be lauded for standing up their industry? Please do feel free to chime in here, you industry folks especially.
· Judge: SF Employers Don't Have To Pay For Health Care [KTVU]
· Golden Gate Restaurant Association, you ruined our Merry Christmas [Left in SF]