Last night was a night of tremendous progress for restaurant workers! We want to highlight three very important ballot initiatives that were approved by voters and thank everyone who participated. Restaurant workers hold 7 of the 10 lowest paying occupations, and ballot initiatives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and San Jose and Long Beach California finally gave them a much-deserved raise, including a HISTORIC INCREASE IN THE TIPPED MINIMUM WAGE!
In Albuquerque, New Mexico the Abq Minimum Wage Campaign succeeded in “bringing $8.50 to the 505″ by a two-to-one margin. 66% of voters in Albuquerque approved the measure that will increase the minimum wage to $8.50/hour and RAISE THE TIPPED MINIMUM WAGE TO OVER $5/HOUR and peg both to inflation. This is a major victory as the tipped minimum wage has been frozen at $2.13 since 1991 and over 70% of tipped workers are restaurant workers — this measure will set the tipped minimum wage at 60% of the minimum wage! Congratulations to the Abq Minimum Wage Coalition – restaurant workers owe you a debt of gratitude.
In San Jose, California, voters approved a ballot measure increasing the minimum wage by $2 to $10/hour. California is one of the seven states where there is no tipped minimum wage, so all tipped workers joined with minimum wage workers to receive a welcome raise. Poverty among restaurant workers in states without a tipped minimum wage is much lower than the rest of the country. To all the organizations involved in this fight, led by the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council, thank you!
In Long Beach, California, voters approved a measure establishing a living wage of $13/hour and ensuring five days of paid sick days for hotel workers, including covered restaurant workers. The Long Beach Living Wage Coalition successfully led this initiative and showed that hospitality workers can also strive for a livable wage. Thank you for showing us the way!