STATEMENT
For Immediate Release: November 5, 2014
Contact: Maria Myotte, maria [at] rocunited [dot] org, 720.352.6153

Midterm Elections ‘A Resounding Victory for Higher Minimum Wage’
Voters Rebuff Partisan Politics for Living Wage; Labor Leader Calls for National Wage Reform

The following statement should be attributed to Saru Jayaraman, co-founder and co-director of Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United.

“Last night, voters sent a powerful message to Congress — they overwhelmingly support a higher minimum wage. Not only did all of the ballot initiatives to raise the minimum wage pass, but they did so in states that ended up electing Republican candidates.

“Yes, some pro-worker candidates lost, but crucial issues to working people won: voters are demanding that a livable wage be accessible to all, not a result of partisan politics. And this is just the beginning — ROC is committed to making sure all workers are paid a livable wage . We will advance campaigns to ensure that all workers can support themselves and their families with a stable, fair wage instead of being forced to live off tips.

“The restaurant industry employs more than 10 million people, it’s one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors in the country. As a result of the subminimum wage for tipped workers, six of the ten lowest paying jobs in the country are restaurant jobs and tipped workers — an overwhelmingly female workforce — are twice as likely to need food stamps than other workers, three-times as likely to live in poverty, and practically guaranteed to endure some form of sexual harassment on the job.

“As made clear by this election, we have no doubt that when given the opportunity, voters will stand with restaurant workers to eliminate the subminimum wage and require all employers be held accountable to one, fair minimum wage.”

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Co-founded by leading workers’ rights advocate, Saru Jayaraman (“One of the top 50 most influential people in the restaurant industry” – Nation’s Restaurant News), ROC United has grown to over 13,000 members across 26 cities in the US, winning 15 worker-led campaigns, totaling $8 million in stolen tips and wages.