Restaurant Industry Faces Avalanche of Legislation

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industry," which reportedly hit the $250 billion mark in 1987, said Jim L. Peterson, president-elect of the National Restaurant Association.

"But it is an industry that is facing more legislation than it has ever faced before, said Jim L. Peterson, who is president of Whataburger Inc.

Peterson was objecting to proposed federal legislation that is aimed at raising the minimum wage to $5.05 over the next three years.

"The minimum wage law is the most misunderstood piece of legislation there is," he said Wednesday to association members gathered at the Myriad Convention Center for a three day conference and trade show sponsored by the Oklahoma Restaurant Association.

Citing studies performed by the association and the National Chamber of Commerce, he said successive minimum wage hikes have only decreased entry-level jobs in the U.S. and have affected the decline of employment among teen-agers and minority teen-agers in particular.

"Minimum wage is a labor issue," he said blasting labor unions and the bill's sponsor, Senator Ted Kennedy, whom he said derived much of his political support from labor unions.

The unions support the action because "half of them negotiate contracts off the minimum wage and if it's too low, two people can come in and take the job of a skilled worker," he said.

Further confusion is brought about because Congress does not understand what it is doing and is looking to the profitability of the restaurant industry and the possible revenues that can be derived from that industry as a way to support governmental programs, he said.

"Congress wants to dictate what we pay people, it's ridiculous. . .$5.05 is the good news, but the bad news is there will be no jobs. …