“Rockefeller versus Rockefeller on paid sick days debate; Nelson’s foundation funds union-led push, while David’s give dough to biz-ed effort.” By Chris Bragg. Crain’s New York Business. February 10, 2013. The Rockefellers, one of the world’s most generous philanthropic families, apparently find themselves on both sides of New York City’s rancorous debate over a bill mandating that businesses offer employees paid sick days. Over the past several years, the Rockefeller Family Fund, a nonprofit established in 1967 by New York Republican Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, has given at least $250,000 toward the union-led push to require companies to offer paid time off. The nonprofit’s $7 million 2010 operating budget came from outside donations and interest accrued from an endowment funded by the family fortune, initially earned by Standard Oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller more than a century ago. Then, in December, the far larger Rockefeller Foundation announced a $100,000 grant to a nonprofit arm of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. The money will be used to hold 2013 mayoral forums highlighting business issues—and for many small businesses, especially restaurants and retailers, there is no concern more pressing than legislation that would require them to pay for time off if an employee calls in sick. “If this was a way to say the Rockefeller family was split on the issue, it was a smart way to do it,” said one left-leaning source, noting that the Rockefeller Foundation’s grant was smaller than the Family Fund’s, despite its annual spending being much greater. The net assets of the Rockefeller Foundation, established in 1913 by John D. Rockefeller, are $3.5 billion. In 2011, it gave away $132 million, according to its most recent tax return. The Rockefeller Family Fund, meanwhile, has $92.7 million in net assets. It gave out $14.8 million in 2010, tax records show.
“Panera Bakers Battle For A Union In A Union-Free World.” By Dave Jamieson. Huffington Post. February 16, 2013. Kathleen VonEitzen heads into work at 10 p.m. with a long night ahead of her. A trained baker, VonEitzen spends the evening and early morning hours cutting and shaping trays full of dough, shuffling between multiple ovens, and constantly checking her crusts until they’re browned just right. She pulls hundreds of fresh baguettes, bagels, cookies and scones from the ovens until her shift finally ends around dawn. VonEitzen, 55, doesn’t work in some boutique bakery, but in a Panera Bread franchise in Battle Creek, Mich. The company prizes VonEitzen’s craftsmanship, referring to her as an “artisan.” “It takes a special type of person to dedicate their night to baking fresh bread,” Panera says on its website. Though Panera bakers don’t bake from scratch (the raw dough comes from a regional facility) they’re still required to master a wide range of baking disciplines. They typically undergo a “bakery boot camp” that’s at least seven weeks long, with homework, exams and demonstration bakes, capped by a 90-day on-the-job assessment period. Many bakers say it takes a year on the job before they can comfortably handle all the responsibilities of the kitchen. The fresh-made breads and pastries are Panera’s hallmark, and they’ve earned the chain a devoted following among the kind of health-conscious, middle-class diners who are willing to spend $7 to $10 on a quick meal. So-called “fast-casual” restaurants like Panera, Chipotle, Chopt and Cosi have come to occupy an increasingly large swath of the American dining landscape. Panera has expanded rapidly in recent years, and now boasts 1,600 locations in 44 states. By combining convenience with fresh, high-quality ingredients, it aims to offer something better than fast food. But how much better are the jobs?