Defy the business community's shameless ultimatum

One Market was among many SF restaurants that a WSJ investigation found was scamming customers and screwing employees.

On the same day that a Wall Street Journal investigation revealed that many San Francisco restaurants are scamming their customers by tacking an employee health care surcharge onto bills and them simply pocketing the money, the Examiner reports that San Francisco business leaders are threatening to withdraw support for pension reform and other measures if the Labor Council supports legislation that would regulate a similar scam.

So, because labor leaders and progressive Sup. David Campos think that employees should actually get health care benefits from the money that city law requires employers to set aside for that purpose -- money that many restaurants are supplementing with surcharges on customers of up to 5 percent -- the business community is pitching a fit.

We really shouldn’t be surprised that business leaders are acting in such a hostile manner to the city and their own employees. After all, the SF Chamber of Commerce and Golden Gate Restaurant Association bitterly fought the Healthy San Francisco plan created by Tom Ammiano, appealing it all the way to the Supreme Court and losing every step of way.

Then, rather than being gracious losers, they devised deceptive schemes to: 1) jack up people’s dinner bills and make it appear that the city was requiring such a surcharge; and 2) satisfy the letter of the law by creating difficult-to-access health savings accounts for employees, then pocketing what was left unclaimed at the end of the year, which amounted to $50 million last year.

And now, because labor supporters are trying to now, you know, support workers and their rights, the business community has turned on pension reform? Hilarious! I say, good, call their bluff, and let ‘em stop supporting Prop. C. Then next year, we can come around with a new pension reform plan that’s coupled with tax increases on big business, sharing the burden for reforming long-term city finances in a way that it should have been done in the first place.

C’mon, Labor Council, stay strong and show these greedy corporations what we all think of their attacks on their employees, customers, and the city.