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March 2008 Cloak Room

May 15, 2008
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 The "lo-le Cherry"
     2008 RAMMY Cocktail

created by Gina Chervani
of Talulla/EatBar
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It’s that time of year again! Tuesday night, March 25th, RAMW hosted the Nominations Party for the announcement of the finalists for the 2008 RAMMY Awards. Our great friend Bob Madigan, WTOP’s Man About Town, emceed the event—not sure the nominations would have been official if Bob hadn’t been in charge. We also had Paul Cohn, Chairman of the RAMW Board of Directors, take a moment to remind us all that “by supporting the RAMMYS, you are not only helping RAMW continue to be the voice of Washington area restaurants, you are also funding the incredible work of the [RAMW Education] Foundation and helping high school graduates pursue their dreams of entering the hospitality field.”

Lynne Breaux, RAMW President, and Gus Dimillo, Gala Chair Emeritus, took over from Bob and Paul to announce the Nominees (they get all the fun jobs). If you can imagine, the excitement was ticked up a notch or two when it was announced that the judges panel, made up of an independent group of food and restaurant writers and critics, could not narrow the nominees in the New Restaurant of the Year category down to 5. For the first time ever, there are 6 nominees vying for New Restaurant of the Year. This is huge; and it speaks to not just to stellar new restaurants but to all that preceded them, raising the bar and enhancing the reputation of the entire dining scene in Metro Washington. Congrats to all the nominees

Your Membership at Work… DC City Council Passes “Accrued Sick and Safe Act”

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Paul Cohn, RAMW Chairman; Betsy Allman, RAMW Operations Director, Lynne Breaux, RAMW President and Andrew J. Kline, RAMW General Counsel

The DC City Council passed the “Accrued Sick and Safe Act of 2008” Tuesday, March 4 after three hours of heated and contentious debate. The proponents of this Bill, headed by Councilmember Carol Schwartz, found themselves in the minority as amendments were introduced to inject some reason and concessions into an otherwise “onerous” bill (as described by Schwartz herself). San Francisco was the first jurisdiction to legislate a mandated paid sick leave policy. Fourteen states and the District of Columbia followed suit with proposed paid sick legislation, DC is the second to actually pass a bill. In addition, Sen. Edward Kennedy has introduced legislation to produce a Federal minimum paid sick leave standard. This quickly became a “handwriting’s on the wall” situation. But that did not mean that RAMW, working with the DC Chamber and the Business Coalition, was going to stand back and let any ol’ law get passed. Andrew Kline, RAMW General Council, worked tirelessly to ensure that common sense amendments made it on to the bill before passage. Most notable among these amendments is the exemption for tipped bartender and wait staff. In addition, the definition of “employee” was change to become consistent with existing legislation and requiring a year of employment (or 1,000 hours) before sick leave can be accrued or taken; language in the bill itself was changed to allow an employer to require accountability for time taken lessening the opportunities for abuse of leave; and, the bill provides for a hardship exemption to be written by the Mayor. The evolution of this legislation proves, once again, that no one faction should hold sway over those that write the laws that govern both individuals and businesses. It is crucial that the voice of the restaurant industry be heard—your individual vote is just the first step in electing responsive legislators, membership and active participation in RAMW refines and strengthens the voice of our industry and ensures that we will be heard and recognized as vital to the lifeblood of our community.  

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