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Monika Zuluaga

Vice President, Membership & Marketing

401-223-1120, ext. 116

Dale's Corner

This blog is written by Dale J. Venturini, President/CEO of RI Hospitality Association (RIHA) and RI Hospitality Education Foundation (RIHEF). Its purpose is to engage RIHA members with current issues and trends.

Dale J. Venturini
President/CEO, RI Hospitality Association

Last month, I detailed a bill in front of the RI legislature that seeks to completely eliminate the tipped wage. This bill, along with several others aimed against hospitality, has mobilized and unified our industry.

We are under attack by paid activists with no experience in the restaurant sector, and they are deliberately misrepresenting the facts related of our industry. They bring in non-RI residents to testify and try to paint a picture that is simply untrue.

They are creating a problem where none exists, claiming that tipped-wage employees do not make minimum wage, that in fact, they are making less than $3.00 an hour. Simply put, this is completely false. However, it is a great media sound bite and using that as their foundation, they seek to change the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour.

This is part of a strong, coordinated, calculated and persistent campaign against us from out-of-state entities. The local head of this organization is on record stating that if they cannot achieve their agenda, they will focus on trying to shut our businesses down. Yes, you read that correctly. If they don’t win, it will be a victory if they can put 70,000 people out of work.

This organization does not let truth stand in the way of their agenda. They seek out and find disgruntled ex-hospitality employees to act as their mouthpiece, to relay a string of facts that are not based in any form of reality. And, unfortunately, some influential folks believe them as it’s often easier to believe the worst in people, rather than the best.

My Board of Directors and I just got back from the National Restaurant Association and American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Public Affairs Conference in Washington, DC. There, we faced picketing by an offshoot of this labor organization. They claim our industry doesn’t pay a living wage. They claim we are the bad guys who do nothing but take from employees. They are wrong. We are an industry of opportunity. We offer flexibility, on-the-job training, and the ability to climb through the ranks.

Just this week alone, I was proud to see the adult learners who graduated from our Hospitality Training Academy. Every single one of them graduated and received a job offer. Yes, each graduate was offered a position in our industry, and the ability to change the course of their lives for the better.

I think about the thousands of local unemployed and underemployed students and adult learners whom my organization and our partners train each year. I think about our member who owns a restaurant and who is also a medical doctor who testified at the state house that provides free healthcare to his employees because he considers them his family. I think about how we successfully employ more than 70,000 folks, almost 10% of RI’s population. And, I think about the fact that our tipped employees average between $16.00-$22.00 per hour. I can sleep at night; I know the generosity and loyalty of this industry that I am fortunate enough to represent.

We are not broken; we do not need to be fixed.

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List of Articles
No. Subject Author Date
20 “Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars.” file Monika Dec 30, 2015
“Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars.” – Les Brown Dale J. Venturini President/CEO, RI Hospitality Association  As we close out another year and ring in 2016, I have been fortunate to once again celebrate the...  
19 As You Climb the Ladder of Success, Turn Around and Pull Someone Up file Monika Oct 13, 2015
We are an industry that rises to the occasion, no matter what the circumstance, and that is something I am very proud of. The RI Hospitality Association (RIHA) is comprised of more than 650 members who have dedicated their lives to the hosp...  
18 The War on Hospitality Ends in a Draw Monika Aug 06, 2015
The legislative season is finally over, and while we can’t claim that we’ve won the war, we can say that we’ve won some key battles for the time being.  Our industry faces an ongoing attack from out-of-state, organized labor forces. They ha...  
17 Hospitality, an Industry of Opportunity file Monika Jun 10, 2015
Dale J. Venturini President/CEO, RI Hospitality Association   As our legislative season winds down, we remain optimistic that bills put before the house and senate by organized, outside labor influences will not pass. As I’ve detailed in pas...  
» The Persistent, Organized Attack on the Hospitality Industry Monika May 20, 2015
Dale J. Venturini President/CEO, RI Hospitality Association Last month, I detailed a bill in front of the RI legislature that seeks to completely eliminate the tipped wage. This bill, along with several others aimed against hospitality, has ...  
15 And, the Winner Is… file Monika Dec 18, 2014
As we ring in the New Year, we will also be swearing in our newest elected officials. Hopefully, the new and familiar faces that will represent us on a local, state and federal level will work in concert, and in the best interests of our in...  
14 Eat, Play and Stay Local for the Holidays file Monika Nov 03, 2014
As all of you who read my columns already know, I am a huge proponent of buying locally; that goes for food items as well as goods and services.  As we start to look toward the holiday season and put on our gift-giving thinking caps (or sno...  
13 Today, Everyone’s a Critic file Monika Oct 14, 2014
In this day and age of social media usurping traditional media, bloggers having better name recognition than nightly TV anchors and everyday customers becoming critics, it has never been more important to pay close attention to your brand a...  
12 Where are all the Employees? file Monika Sep 13, 2014
The hospitality industry is one of the top job producers in Rhode Island. We employ more than 63,000 people who are looking to make a career in our industry or perhaps to pay their way through school while gaining valuable experience. And, ...  
11 It Doesn’t Affect Me (Yet) So Why Should I Help Fight It? file Monika Jul 03, 2014
Dale Venturini President/CEO, RI Hospitality Association This year is ramping up to be one of the tough ones, one of those years that can absolutely exhaust you and run you into the ground. I’m not talking about the result of running a thriv...  
10 In the World of Online Booking, Where do the Taxes Travel? file Monika Apr 07, 2014
        We all love to travel. And, the majority of Americans book their travel through an online website. Often, it’s not the website of a hotel, airline or rental car company. Instead, many consumers visit online travel companies (OTCs) l...  
9 New England’s Weather Armageddon file Monika Feb 05, 2014
Dale J. Venturini President/CEO, RI Hospitality Association Our region is often heralded as one of the most beautiful and desirable areas in the nation. Our picturesque coastlines, soaring mountains, legendary lakes, pristine beaches and ab...  
8 New Year, New Threats file Monika Jan 02, 2014
Dale J. Venturini President/CEO, RI Hospitality Association   Happy New Year, colleagues, friends and family! As we ring in 2014 and make our personal resolutions, pledges, and affirmations, let’s also resolve to get our houses in order.  I ...  
7 Twinkle, Twinkle Little Stars file Monika Dec 01, 2013
Dale J. Venturini President/CEO, RI Hospitality Association As another year comes to a close, I am fortunate to once again end on a high note with one of the best nights in the hospitality industry, our annual meeting and awards event, “Sta...  
6 The Business of Holidays file Monika Nov 01, 2013
Dale J. Venturini President/CEO, RI Hospitality Association As soon as the summer ends and the first morning chill hits, it feels like we are all on a speeding train headed directly for the holidays! Every year retailers are beginning their...  
Posted on July 3, 2013 in Association TalkBy Dale J. Venturini, President/CEO Rhode Island Hospitality Association Dale J. Venturini, President/CEO, RI Hospitality Association It seems that every week that goes by, I receive more and more ca...  
4 RSVP – The Four Most Powerful Letters in Hospitality [4] file Monika Jun 21, 2013
  Dale J. VenturiniPresident/CEO, RI Hospitality Association<?xml:namespace prefix = o />   If you’re like me, you are constantly getting bombarded with invitations to various events from political fundraisers, to industry nights, to good-c...  
3 April, 2013: Buyer Beware file Monika Apr 10, 2013
How many times have you opened a letter that looks ‘official’ to discover that you owe a nominal sum of money to some ubiquitous state agency? It could be $50.00, $100.00, or even $150.00. It’s never quite enough for a busy owner or operator...  
2 March, 2013: Allergen Awareness file Monika Apr 10, 2013
In the food service industry, allergies are no laughing matter. It’s a serious issue that can have harmful and potentially life-threatening implications for our guests. Peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, seafood, eggs, milk, wheat, and soy are j...  
1 January, 2013: Stars Shine Bright Every Day [5] file Monika Apr 10, 2013
The annual RI Hospitality Association and RI Hospitality Education Foundation “Stars of the Industry” gala is the perfect evening to cap off the year. It is truly one of my favorite events. We recognized more than 70 hospitality professional...