Military fast food outlets get temporary reprieve from new wage rules

The Labor Department re-evaluates the new minimum wage rules.

SPRINGFIELD, V.A.–The Labor Department has pulled back — at least temporarily — from new minimum wage rules that had led several fast-food restaurants to end their contracts on military installations and prompted others to possibly follow suit.

Labor officials are “reevaluating” wage determinations for fast food workers and expect to “reissue industry-specific fast food wage determinations in the near future,” according to a departmental announcement sent to interested parties and contracting offices.

At issue are recently implemented Labor Department rules for fast food workers on federal contracts under the Service Contract Act that require an increase in their minimum wage, varying by region.

The rules also require payment of new, additional “health and welfare” benefits at a rate of $3.81 per hour.

In a request for a waiver from these new wage rules regulations, the Navy noted that in six areas in Florida, California and Virginia, the increase in the new mandated hourly wage ranges from 72 percent to 76 percent.

Last year, DoL decided that fast food workers under federal contracts would be subject to these requirements, and included the codes in their wage determinations, although they had not been in the past. DoL has now removed the codes for fast food workers from these wage determinations.

With those rules now removed, contracting agencies will have to submit an e98 request form to Labor officials before they set wage and benefit rates for fast food workers in federal contracts. Meanwhile, Labor officials expect to finish their reevaluation soon.

In March, McDonald’s restaurants closed on three Navy bases, and Marine Corps officials have said one will close on a Marine base. Another eatery, “I Love Country,” has closed at Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

The majority of fast food concessions on Army and Air Force bases are unaffected because they are operated directly by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, not by contract.

Russell Beland, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for military manpower and personnel, had sent a letter to DoL April 8 asking for an exemption from the wage regulations.

In that letter, Beland said Navy and Marine Corps exchange officials estimate that unless relief is granted, up to 390 fast food concession operations would close on installations across the U.S. and its territories, with a loss of nearly 5,750 jobs, many held by military family members and veterans.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Hutchinson Middle School in Hutchinson, Minn., invited students to help serve lunch in an effort to encourage their peers to try new, healthy recipes, Hutchinson Leader reports.

The students, who are part of the school’s Students in Action Club, created posters to advertise the new meal and helped serve it to students during lunch.

The school’s kitchen manager, Janet Schmidt, said that around 37 more students than normal got in line to try the meal. The school plans to have students from the club help serve lunch once every month.

Read the full story via Hutchinson...

Industry News & Opinion

In an effort to trim costs, the country’s largest senior living company laid off 100 staff members, including regional dining services directors, reports Senior Housing News .

Not all employees who were laid off will technically leave the company, Senior Housing News notes, as some will be reassigned to alternative positions. Brookdale recently posted third-quarter earnings that fell short of analysts’ expectations and that the company’s CEO called disappointing.

At the end of last year, the Brentwood, Tenn.-based company employed 53,000 workers on a full-time basis, and...

Industry News & Opinion

After receiving mixed feedback from parents, Randolph County School District in Asheboro, N.C., is inviting parents to tour the district’s kitchens and cafeterias to see how the food for school meals is made, Fox 8 reports.

School officials say that the tours, part of the district’s first Food Day for Parents, will give parents an inside look at the upkeep of the facilities, as well as enable them to sample some food and see how the district is upholding USDA guidelines.

Officials also hope that the tours will provide them with more guidance on what parents and students are...

Industry News & Opinion

After fielding complaints from parents and students, Sodexo is launching an initiative to improve dining services at Emerson College in Boston, the Berkeley Beacon reports.

The initiative will kick off this month with an event dubbed Fresh Start, marking the start of several moves aimed at improving service—including the hiring of a new executive chef, the addition of a second sous chef, and retraining current staff on food preparation and presentation.

Members of the Emerson community will also be able to share feedback through the introduction of monthly forums, as well...

FSD Resources