Chamber of Commerce Staff Gets Drunk, Blames Workers

They may be party animals when chugging $8,204 worth of booze but, after the hangover is over, the staff at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce goes back to being their ugly anti-worker selves.

Seems that some 100 or so Chamber of Commerce staff recently ran up an $8,204 tab at The Exchange, a sports bar within staggering distance from the Chamber’s architecturally ever-so ponderous Washington, D.C., headquarters. The tab included 155 pitchers of beer, 37 bottles of beer, 208 mixed drinks, 111 shots, 43 margaritas and 11 open bottles of liquor.

And when the bosses got the tab, they weren’t happy. After all, the image of Chamber staffers soaking in thousands of dollars worth of Red Bull and pitchers of vodka that sources say the party-goers ordered, strays a bit from the pin-striped image the Chamber sells its members. And then there’s that problem of justifying such a large, booze-soaked expense to its frugal dues-paying members out in DeKalb, Ill., or Anaheim, Calif.

So, when confronted with the bill, the staff did what the Chamber always does–blame workers. That’s right. The Chamber now is saying The Exchange waitstaff was tipped too much.

Should have thought of it. The problem is not the thousands of dollars the Chamber of Commerce staff wasted on getting wasted, it’s the 18 percent tip for the waiters and waitresses that’s the real crime.

This, after all, is the group that fights every boost in the minimum wage–like the federal increase that finally got passed after minimum wage workers received no pay increase for 10 years. The same bunch of lobbyists that pushed the Senate to approve the Bush nominations of Samuel Alito and John Roberts to the Supreme Court. The same cabal took a big role in promoting Bush’s scheme to privatize Social Security and in killing legislation to expand children’s health care through the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

Such influence does not come cheap. The Chamber spent the most money in lobbying expenditures in the past decade, with General Electric Co. ranking second at $161 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

If the Chamber had its way, the waitstaff who put up with a mass of drunken fools dripping with a massive sense of entitlement should serve the rich for less than minimum wage. And be happy about it.

Just like the rest of America’s workers.

This is a crosspost from Firedoglake.

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