For Immediate Release: January 9, 2015
Contact: Maria Myotte, maria@rocunited.org, 720 352 6153
Leading Restaurant Worker Advocate: Widespread Voter Support for One Fair Wage Amounts to Public Mandate for Eliminating Sub-minimum Wage for Tipped Workers

New Poll Reveals 75% of New York Voters Across Partisan Groups Support Eliminating Tipped Minimum Wage in Favor of One Fair Wage

The following statement can be attributed to Saru Jayaraman, co-director and co-founder of Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United, on yesterday’s public wage board meeting regarding the future of New York’s $5 tipped minimum wage.

“To do right by New York’s voters means Acting Labor Commissioner Mario J. Musolino and the Wage Board should do more than mull over a $2 raise for tipped workers and instead eliminate New York’s two-tiered wage system altogether,” said Saru Jayaraman, co-founder and co-director of ROC United. “New York’s voters don’t want a separate, lower wage just for tipped workers. In what amounts to a public mandate, new polling data shows that the majority of New Yorkers, across partisan groups, want one fair wage. They’re ready for it not only in the city, but also Upstate where voters favor eliminating the lower, tipped minimum wage by a more than 3 to 1 margin.”

“The bottom line is that voters are sick and tired of picking up the slack for the abysmally low wages of the restaurant industry. Folks rightly see the lower subminimum wage for tipped workers as unfair, since it amounts to forcing customers to pay the bulk of a server’s wages, and servers are already three times more likely than other workers to live in poverty. Gov. Cuomo, Musolino, and the Wage Board have the ability to make New York a One Fair Wage state and it’s clear that if New York becomes the eighth state to eliminate the tipped minimum wage, the move would be met with widespread public support.”

The Wage Board will likely meet again in the coming days. The Department of Labor must issue a final wage order by February 15, 2015.

The poll commissioned by ROC United and conducted by Lake Research Partners is available here: http://rocunited.org/wp2015b/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/OneFairWage_NYpoll.pdf

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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 worker-members across 26 cities in the US, winning 15 worker-led campaigns, totaling $8 million in stolen tips and wages.