There is currently a bill at the State Capitol to support statewide labor standards. MLBA and our members have been at several House and Senate committee hearings in support of the bill HF500 and SF580
Below is the testimony that Executive Director, Tony Chesak, gave at the February 8, House Committee hearing.
Mr. Chair and Members of the Committee. My name is Tony Chesak, the Executive Director of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association – the MLBA. The MLBA is a statewide association of family owned small businesses – liquor stores, bars and restaurants. These bars and restaurants are places that at their best, public houses for all to gather to celebrate, relax, and to create community.
I am here today to represent the many members of the MLBA and their position on HF 600.
I come today in support of HF 600, and to tell you how without this bill, there will be significant negative impacts to small businesses throughout the state.
In the 159 years the state has existed, small business owners have been able to rely on wage and labor practices to be set at the state level. This has provided certainty and uniformity that has proven to be reliable.
We haven’t had to deal with different labor rules city by city or township by township. This recent break from tradition is the first step in the creation of a patchwork of labor rules and potentially different levels of wages depending on where these businesses are located. This also will increase competitive disadvantages within the hospitality marketplace.
Next, some might ask, what impact does this have on a bar, restaurant or liquor store in my district?
They think that their city would never do the crazy things that other cities have chosen to do. I will tell you that if the cost of goods go up because a distributor is based in a city that chooses to impose their own unique wage or labor standards, that cost will be passed on to the bar, restaurant or liquor store in your city. We live in an integrated state where products are supplied from all parts of the state to small business owners.
I want to conclude where I began. The members of the MLBA are often some of the most identifiable small businesses in your cities. We value our communities – we value our employees, we just think that setting wage and labor standards city by city doesn’t make sense.