Blue Plate backtracks, will no longer dip into servers' tips

Categories: Business, Food
Citing feedback from guests and the community, Blue Plate Restaurant Company has announced it will no longer dip into servers' tips, a practice it began when Minnesota's first minimum wage increase in nearly a decade went into effect August 1.

A press release announcing the move also announces that as of September 1, Blue Plate will pay all non-tipped employees a "living wage" of $9.69, which is about 20 percent above what the state's minimum wage law requires.

See also:
Hell's Kitchen applauds minimum wage increase

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Blue Plate responds to minimum wage increase by dipping into servers' tips

Categories: Food

:::: UPDATE :::: Blue Plate backtracks, will no longer dip into servers' tips

On August 1, Blue Plate Restaurant Company notified employees at each of its eight locations (including the Freehouse, the Lowry, and Longfellow Grill) that as per Minnesota's incremental minimum wage increase, wages would indeed be raised by $0.75 per hour.

The good news didn't last. After telling employees that they "want [the raise] to be visible in the warm welcome and bright smile you bring to our guests," Blue Plate explained that due to increased expenses resulting from the raise, the company will take 2 percent of all tips paid with a credit card in addition to taxes servers already pay, reports the Star Tribune.

See also: River Oasis Cafe getting killed for "Min Wage Fee" on Yelp

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Seward Co-op dumps some products made by anti-birth control Eden Foods, cites poor sales

Co-ops and groceries might not be boycotting Eden, but at Seward, a critical mass of customers are.
As local co-ops and groceries take heat for not dumping products made by Eden Foods, a Catholic-owned company under fire for refusing to provide birth control to its employees on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling, the response from places like Mississippi Market and the Seward Co-op has been largely the same -- they won't boycott, but urge customers to vote with their dollars.

Some are apparently doing just that at the Seward Co-op, and in response, management announced earlier this week that they've already stopped selling some Eden products.

See also:
Abortions at record low in MN thanks to health care access, contraceptive mandate, NARAL says

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Mississippi Market's rationale for not dumping Eden Foods is similar to Seward Co-op's [UPDATE]

Categories: Food, Health Care
Courtesy of Todd Kolod
Kolod (pictured) says Mississippi Market only carries a few Eden Foods products, but even one is too many for him.
-- Update, including comments from Mississippi Market, at bottom --

Earlier this week, we shared the Seward Co-op's reasons for continuing to sell products made by Eden Foods, a Michigan-based company with Catholic ownership that's under fire for refusing to provide birth control to its employees on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling.

As you'd probably expect, the rationale invoked by at least one other Twin Cities co-op that continues to sell Eden products is largely similar. More specifically, consider how Liz McMann, Mississippi Market Natural Foods Co-op's consumer affairs manager, responded to Todd Kolod (pictured at top of this post) when Kolod wrote her expressing his concerns about the co-op's decision not to dump Eden.

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Male birth control pill, Gamendazole, being developed at University of Minnesota

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Local co-ops take heat for selling products from anti-birth control company Eden Foods

Categories: Food, Health Care
Boycott Eden Foods on Facebook
A man identified as Todd Kolod protests outside St. Paul's Whole Foods and Mississippi Market.
:::: UPDATE :::: Mississippi Market's rationale for not dumping Eden Foods is similar to Seward Co-op's

On Friday, Steven Miles, a bioethicist at the University of Minnesota who we've previously written about because of his work on U.S. abuses in Iraqi prisons (among other issues), sent us correspondence he recently had with the the Seward Co-op regarding its decision to continue selling products from Eden Foods, a company with Catholic ownership that won't provide birth control to its employees in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling.

In an email to the co-op, Miles wrote, "Eden Organic Foods (with Hobby Lobby) is not providing insurance for contraceptives to women employees. I do not believe they should be stocked by any co-op and that they should be told of this decision."

See also:
Minnesota's own Hobby Lobby: MN businesses gain from SCOTUS ruling

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Teamsters Union withdraws endorsement for Sen. Roger Reinert, critic of blue laws [UPDATE]

Except on Sundays
-- Updated at bottom with statement from State Sen. Roger Reinert --

The powerful Teamsters Union has rescinded its endorsement for state Sen. Roger Reinert (DFL-Duluth), an opponent of the Sunday liquor ban.

In a letter that was published by Bluestem Prairie, union leadership questioned Reinert's integrity and said his "demeanor toward the DFL leadership and our allies has been outright offensive." By their own account, this is the first time in more than 30 years that they've withdrawn support for a sitting legislator.

See also:
Sunday sales, this time including growlers, fails again

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Wisconsin using cheese to de-ice roads. Really.

The only thing that could make this story more quintessentially Wisconsin is if beer was somehow involved.
Earlier this week, the New York Times ran a piece about a number of municipal and county governments in Wisconsin using cheese -- yes, cheese -- to de-ice frozen roadways.

SEE ALSO: 350-pound Wisconsin man picketing restaurant after he's cut off during all-you-can-eat fish fry

According to the report, officials in America's largest cheese-producing state have taken to mixing cheese brine -- typically of the provolone or mozzarella variety -- with traditional rock salt to create a cheaper, more durable road de-icer.

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Dave Cossetta gets into another totally ridiculous parking lot ruckus

Categories: Food
Dave Cossetta (left)
In January, Dave Cossetta, owner of Cossetta's Italian restaurant in St. Paul near the Xcel Energy Center -- also known as this guy's favorite lasagna place -- got served a knuckle sandwich after he confronted someone about parking in the restaurant's lot without paying.

But that's nothing compared to the parking lot ridiculousness Dave got himself involved in around 1:30 in the afternoon last Thursday.

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Minneapolis Ecuadorian festivalgoers eat guinea pig, get sick

Categories: Food
Eighty-one people went to either HCMC or the Minneapolis Children's Hospital after scarfing down eats at the Ecuadorian Independence Festival on August 11.

SEE ALSO: New China Wok near 50th & France had mouse droppings on food holding table

According to a Star Tribune report, many of them ate a traditional Ecuadorian dish that contained guinea pig meat. Might that be evidence humans aren't supposed to chow cute little fellers like the one pictured above?

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Erwin Lingitz sues after he's arrested for allegedly stealing free samples from Cub Foods

Categories: Food, Law
Cub Logo rect.jpg
Cub Foods claims Lingitz violated unwritten free sample etiquette rules.
Nearly three years after he was roughed up and arrested for allegedly swiping free samples from the White Bear Township Cub Foods, 68-year-old Erwin Lingitz has filed a federal lawsuit seeking $375,000 in damages.

SEE ALSO: Camera unlawfully taken by Ramsey County deputy: "If I end up on YouTube, I'm going to be upset" [VIDEO]

The April 2010 incident began when Lingitz tried to walk out of the Cub store with nearly a pound and a half of deli meat samples he says were given to him by an employee. But a security guard thought he was shoplifting and called police.

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