The Duluth Local Restaurant Association sent the following eMail to Duluth city councilors on Friday:
We would like to express our immense gratitude to Councilors Hansen, Hobbs, Van Nett, Anderson, Fosle, in supporting an adjustment to the ESST accrual hours from 1 to 40 to 1 to 50.
And we are equally appreciative to that same group, plus Councilor Filipovich, in supporting the amendment for the ESST exemption of seasonal workers of 120 days or less.
While we sincerely believe there is a better way to accomplish ESST for all employees than legislating a far-reaching mandate, we are encouraged by the engagement and willingness to evolve positions as many of you have demonstrated.
The amendments that were approved on Monday will be critical compromises that may be the difference between a Duluth business surviving, cutting many positions and benefits, or just ceasing to exist.
But I hope we ask ourselves what we could have done to avoid some of the divisiveness in this process.
Did we put the cart before the horse? Was the agenda of an ESST ordinance pushed forward too quickly without proper engagement of all Duluth citizens and stakeholders?
· Has enough information been gathered and shared regarding the administrative and enforcement costs for us to move forward?
. Were too many assumptions made? Was it just assumed that every business was healthy and profitable and that hospitality employees were unhappy?
. Did we miss the bigger picture? Are we looking at ALL the health indicators of our city before prioritizing and assigning our limited resources?
We would also like to recognize Councilors Sipress, Russ, and Westerlund for taking the time and providing their continued dialogue in a conversation that is incredibly important to Duluth’s business community.
We all want to see Duluth grow and prosper. As a group of devoted, small local businesses, we pledge to continue to be engaged partners with our city council and city administration.
Note: The eMail was signed by Duluth Local Restaurant Association members At Sara’s Table, Bellisio’s Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar, Black Water Lounge, Big Daddy’s Burgers, Black Woods Grill and Bar, Burrito Union, Bulldog Pizza, Buffalo House, Canal Park Brewing, Clyde Iron Works, Catering By Bellisio’s, Duluth Grill, Endion Station, Fitger’s Brew House, G.B. Schneider, Grandma’s Saloon & Grill – Canal Park, Grandma’s Saloon & Grill – Miller Hill, Green Mill, Grizzlys, 7 West Tap Downtown, 7 West Tap Miller Hill, Greysolon Ballroom, Little Angie’s Cantina, Lake Avenue Cafe, OMC Smokehouse, Pickwick Restaurant & Pub, Perkins, Rathskeller, New Scenic Cafe, Silos Restaurant, The Boat Club, Tavern on the Hill, The Sports Garden,Valentini’s Vicino Logo, Vanilla Bean