Indri Schaelicke | United States
In an effort to promote the local restaurant industry, the city of San Francisco, California is considering adopting a new law that prohibits employees of large tech companies from eating in cafeterias on their campus. The proposed law will achieve this by banning companies from maintaining on-site cafeterias, forcing employees to bring their own food from home or leave the corporate campus to get lunch. Proponents say that enacting this legislation will help the restaurants in the area, which have lost business as companies build on-site cafeterias, to recover and thrive again.
While this move seeks to help small businesses and restaurant workers, it may, in fact, hurt them. Jobs in catering and cafeteria service tend to pay more than those in traditional restaurant settings. Ending jobs in this industry could limit upward mobility in the world of entry-level restaurant jobs.
Companies first started building cafeterias in their buildings in an effort to boost worker productivity. If employees can cut down their lunch break, simply by eliminating a long round trip drive to lunch, they can spend more time working and networking, something that all companies seek to promote. If the proposed legislation passes, workers will be made to take time away from their work habitat which could stunt social enterprise.
Driving off campus decreases the time workers have to be productive and imposes extra costs. Employees will have to spend money on gas and overpriced restaurant food, at a time when the cost of living is already so high. The high volume of employees leaving work to go to lunch will no doubt worsen existing traffic issues. Twitter’s location alone has over 2000 employees, and although the ban only impacts future workplaces being built, imagine the amount of congestion if 2000 employees all descended upon the city at the same time to eat lunch. Forcing people to leave work and eat is not only immoral but will worsen existing traffic.
The fact that the ban only applies to the building of workplaces in the future means that companies will have a hard time starting up or even expanding in Silicon Valley. Businesses will not be able to build new workplaces that have cafeterias on site, which is a huge blow to businesses. Companies offer free on-site lunch as a perk to potential employees, and if they cannot offer this, they cannot attract workers. It is in this way that this ban limits future growth.
The success the proposal has had thus far is concerning as it is a classic example of one group trying to take the rights of the other. Restaurants are trying to take away the right of private property owners, in this case, tech companies, from engaging in whatever business practice they choose to on their own property. It is no business of the state to determine what someone can do on their own property, so long as it does not cause harm to their life, liberty or property. This proposed ban is a direct attack on the principles of private property rights and should not be adopted.
This is just another example of the strangulation that California legislatures have placed on the open market. This past week, Santa Barbara passed a law that will outlaw plastic straws. Along the West Coast of California, the grip of government is becoming ever tighter. Great effort must be made to save whatever shred of liberty is left if totalitarianism is to be avoided. Knowing California’s disdain for liberty and lack of respect for individual rights, it is unlikely that much will be done to stop it.