A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a restaurant industry lawsuit challenging a New York City law requiring fast-food employers to send money that workers want deducted from their paychecks to nonprofits, including groups they might oppose.
U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe in Manhattan said the National Restaurant Association failed to show that the November 2017 law compelled fast-food employers to subsidize employees’ speech, violating the First Amendment of the Constitution.
In a 70-page decision, the judge also said New York City easily demonstrated a rational basis for the law, including that it makes it easier for workers, especially those who lack access to banking services, to contribute to nonprofits.
The restaurant group and its legal arm, the Restaurant Law Center, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Nick Paolucci, a spokesman for the city’s law department, said the city was gratified by the decision.
The New York City Council passed the deductions law in May 2017, as part of a package of bills covering an estimated 65,000 fast-food workers in the city.
It allowed nonprofits to receive donations once they had obtained pledge commitments from at least 500 workers. Labor organizations were not eligible to receive the donations.
The restaurant group complained that the law could force employers to steer money to and endorse ideological and political groups they might disapprove of.
It cited as an example the “Fight for $15” campaign for a $15 an hour minimum wage for fast-food workers, which drew support from the Service Employees International Union.
But the judge said there was no reason to believe people would view the forwarding of employee donations as an expression of employer support for the nonprofits, even if donations were disclosed. He also found only a “minimal” risk of confusion.
“The deductions law does not compel speech, association, or subsidies from fast food employers, and is not preempted by federal labor law,” Gardephe concluded.
A $15 an hour minimum wage took effect on Dec. 31 in New York City at employers with more than 10 workers, and at all fast-food employers. The federal minimum is $7.25 an hour.
The case is Restaurant Law Center et al v City of New York et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 17-09128.
Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Tom Brown
‘It just didn’t add up’: Pelosi says Trump’s meltdown was triggered by simple logic
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Thursday said that a "meltdown" on the part of President Donald Trump came after she questioned the logic of his military leadership.
At her weekly press conference, Pelosi explained the details of a meeting on Syria that took place at the White House on Wednesday.
"I also pointed out to the president I had concerns that all roads seemed to lead to Putin," the Speaker recalled. "The Russians have been trying to get a hold in the Middle East unsuccessfully and now the president has given them an opportunity with the Kurds reaching out to them for support in Syria."
Billionaire Trump-loving governor took $125,000 in bailouts meant for struggling farmers: report
On Thursday, the Associated Press reported that Gov. Jim Justice (R-WV) received $125,000 in emergency stabilization payments for his farms, as part of the bailout program authorized by President Donald Trump to help farmers avoid losses due to the trade war with China.
Justice, a Trump-loving business magnate who briefly switched to the Democratic Party to run for governor of West Virginia and switched back to the GOP after the election, hardly fits the profile of a struggling farmer. He is worth $1.5 billion, and owns over 50 businesses, including a network of coal mines and the Greenbriar luxury resort, a popular gathering place for Republican officials.
Here’s why Sondland’s testimony is devastating to Trump — whether he wants it to be or not
Veteran Newsweek reporter Kurt Eichenwald outlined in a thread that EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland delivered testimony to the House that was devastating for President Donald Trump whether Sondland wanted it to be or not.
"While wrapped in diplomatic-speak and hemming-and-hawing, the statement of Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to European Union, is devastating to Trump and Giuliani," Eichenwald said. "Given the surrounding evidence, either Giuliani has to say he lied to Sondland, or Trump has to be impeached it is important to dig through it, because, while quite clear on most dates, it takes jumping a bit around in the statement to figure out the date of the key event."