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ROC United Response to CBO Report on Impacts of Raising the Minimum Wage

The following statement can be attributed to Saru Jayaraman, co-founder & co-director of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United.

“Opponents of raising the minimum wage have been using the same arguments since it was first enacted 75 years ago. Unfortunately, yesterday’s Congressional Budget Office report is more of the same. Today, having a job doesn’t mean you can afford the basics. In one of our country’s largest & fastest growing economic sectors, the restaurant industry, tipped workers are three-times as likely to live in poverty than the general workforce.”

“Research shows that passing the Fair Minimum Wage Act would lift 700,000 tipped workers from poverty, inject $12.7 billion into the economy, and result in consumers spending, at most, an extra dime a day on food. Further, our recent national study shows that better restaurant employment practices, including fair wages, would reduce turnover — one of the highest costs of running a restaurant — in half.”

“Restaurant chains like In-N-Out and Mexicue, among others, are already paying above the federal minimum wage and continue to grow and profit. The 7 states that have eliminated the subminimum wage have thriving restaurant industries and the lowest-poverty rates for restaurant workers. As 80% of the public, a majority of small business-owners, 700 economists, 7 nobel laureates, and President Obama agree, we must raise the minimum wage for all workers.”

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Co-founded by labor rights leader Saru Jayaraman (“The Woman Who’s Changing the Definition of Foodie” – In These Times), ROC United has grown to over 13,000 members across 26 cities in the US, winning 13 worker-led campaigns, totaling $7 million in stolen tips and wages.