I used to hate beer. Most Americans experience beer and alcoholic beverages as a rite of passage into adulthood, but I refused to follow the crowd. Despite their fowl taste, most of us are introduced to beer through the cheapest, most processed versions available. I remember someone once explaining to me a kind of golden rule to appreciating (bad) beer, in an attempt to get me started: after ten cans the foul taste will go away! Even hardcore vegetarians and vegans can be found making exceptions for these beers, many of which contain animal products like bone, bladder, and dried blood. But I wanted nothing to do with them.
Then I moved to Portland, Oregon.
The wet city in the Pacific Northwest contains more brewpubs per-capita than anywhere else in the world, even Germany. I was surrounded by exotic Scotch Ales and fruity Lamics. It wasn’t long until I was trying beers left and right and attending such world-class beer events as the Oregon Brewers Festival and the Holiday Ale Festival. So then with so many great beers out there, why did it take me so long to find them?
Last year’s documentary film, Beer Wars, answers my question with a sobering story. Through an inside glimpse into the beer industry, the film illuminates how the giants of the market reinforce their dominance and squelch micro brewers using every tactic available. Distribution companies and grocery stores are manipulated to ensure that the smaller companies have little to no room in the trucks or on the shelves. We watch as the humble brewmaster of microbrewery Dogfish Head is served with litigation from Anheuser-Busch. Even though the suit is bogus, it is obvious that the corporation is aiming to simply bankrupt the little guys in legal fees. Why? Because they can. Continue reading
On this site I hope to provide reviews of a variety of publications and other work of interest to the DIY community. If you have a zine or other related work you’d like reviewed, feel free to send a copy.
From the Portland Restaurant Workers Association
For my first review, I am recommending Know Your Rights!: A Restaurant Worker’s Survival Guide. This publication was recently published by the Portland Restaurant Workers Association (PRWA), which describes itself as “a community group of workers committed to promoting Solidarity, Support, & Education among food service workers in our city.” The PRWA also recently teamed up with the Portland Central America Solidarity Committee to offer low-cost, highly interactive Spanish Language/Conversation classes, which you can learn more about here.
The small guide makes a handy resource to refer to, whether you’re unemployed, going through the hiring process, on the job, or getting fired. At 1/4 page size, it’s also almost small enough to store in your back pocket.
Inside, the restaurant workers who wrote the zine present some resources for employment, legal services, and heath care, both local and national. It also offers legal information that your employer is less likely to inform you of, such as your rights to be paid, and the terms for taking leave when you or a family member has a serious health condition or is the victim of a crime. Of particular interest to restaurant workers is the issue of tips. The guide points out that Oregon law does not address tips and even the U.S. Department of Labor fails to enforce federal regulations in the state. The PRWA wants to hear more from restaurant workers about their experience with tips. You can send your story to them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Know Your Rights!: A Restaurant Worker’s Survival Guide is available to view at the Independent Publishing Resource Center. You can also contact PRWA at email@example.com to get your own copy. They plan to hold discussion forums this year to distribute, discuss, and receive feedback about the pamphlet.