Minimum Wage Debate

The minimum wage debate in Ohio

The Ohio Restaurant Association (ORA) opposes the Big Labor-backed Fight for $15 movement that's taking place in cities across the country. Restaurant owners say escalating starting wages to $15 per hour so quickly without regard to marketplace forces will result in fewer entry-level positions, reduction in hours for employees, accelerated automation (which will eliminate servers and front-counter jobs) higher menu prices (leading to inflation) and less confidence in growth and expansion.

Gov. Kasich signs Senate Bill 331 into law

Senate Bill 331 stops municipalities from establishing minimum wage rates that are different from what is required by state law, preempting cities from passing their own minimum wage rates. SB 331 also preempts cities from passing restrictive scheduling laws. Ohio Gov. John Kasich recently signed this bill into law.

What does this mean for the "Fight For $15" initiative driven by the SEIU in Cleveland?

ORA helps push back special election for a $15 minimum wage proposal in Cleveland

The ORA, along with the Clevelanders Against Job Loss coalition, have worked to push back a threat to Cleveland’s economy by changing the date for a vote on a Cleveland-only minimum wage hike.

A May, 2017 special ballot election on a wage hike takes the place of the November 8, 2016 general election. This will enable the coalition to inform Cleveland voters about the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) backing an 85% increase in the minimum wage. Read more.

Resources ​

ORA/NRA researchA study released in 2016 by the Ohio Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association shows that proposed legislation to increase Cleveland's minimum wage to $15 per hour would eliminate more than 2,500 jobs - over half of which are held by women. Click here for more.
ORA opinion


Cleveland Plain Dealer: Cleveland minimum-wage hike's unintended consequences: John Barker (Opinion)

Read our CEO Blog: Thought Leadership

ORA Cleveland Alliance meets to discuss minimum wage hike

On Tuesday, July 12, the Ohio Restaurant Association (ORA) hosted a meeting of restaurant owners, northeast Ohio board members, and other foodservice operators at Windows on the River. More than 40 people came together to strengthen the industry's voice in the area and to form the ORA Cleveland Alliance.

Jonathan Simons of the National Restaurant Association and ORA President & CEO John Barker as well as ORA Director of Government Affairs Joe Rosato spoke about implications of a proposed $15 minimum wage hike. Restaurateurs agree that such a hike would put some operators out of business and raise prices.

If you want to be involved in our ORA Cleveland Alliance, contact Joe Rosato.

Cleveland mayor, city council president oppose $15 for city employees

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley, both Democrats, are asking state and national leaders to step in to prevent an effort in Cleveland to set the city's minimum wage rate at $15 an hour. They sent 19 letters to U.S. lawmakers from Ohio, state legislators, and others. "We continue to support a minimum wage increase if mandated by the state or federal government but not just for the City of Cleveland," the letter concludes. "Again, we are calling on you to stand with us in opposition to a Cleveland-only minimum wage." The city council is now weighing a $15 wage proposal after SEIU-backed activists came to the council with a petition to put the measure on the ballot. Ohio Restaurant Association research shows a $15 wage hike could result in the loss of more than 2,500 jobs in the city.

House Speaker Paul Ryan not supportive of higher minimum wage

On June 7, House Speaker Paul Ryan rolled out the House GOP task force's anti-poverty platform. He reiterated that he believes a $15 minimum wage "will do more harm than good. It prices entry-level jobs away from people. I started working at McDonald's and it was a great way to learn skills ... There are better ways of achieving economic growth and upward mobility than a [wage increase] that the [Congressional Budget Office] says could cost millions of jobs."

​ “The whole point is having an economy that bids up wages. The whole purpose of our agenda is not capping wages, it's unleashing wages and having the kind of economy and economic growth and the skills training, the education, the welfare-to-work programs that help get people better jobs in a better economy that has a more promising future for them," Ryan said.