STATEMENT
For Immediate Release: January 15, 2015
Contact: Maria Myotte, maria@rocunited.org, 720-352-6153

Leading Restaurant Worker Advocate: Elected Officials Everywhere Take Note — The Majority of Americans Support One Fair Wage

New National Poll Shows 71% of Americans Support Raising Lower, Tipped Minimum Wage to Full Minimum Wage and Favor Major Minimum Wage Increase

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

“Elected officials everywhere have to confront and act on the widespread public support for a major minimum wage increase for all workers including tipped workers. We are thrilled that this new poll shows exactly what ROC has been working toward — 71% of Americans support ending the unfair two-tiered wage system and eliminating the lower, tipped minimum wage,” said Saru Jayaraman, co-founder and co-director of ROC United.  “It’s clear that this is a year of rising expectations on issues that matter most to hard-working Americans — 63% support a minimum wage of $15, and 75% support a minimum of $12.50 — these amounts that are above what our elected officials have proposed.

“The fact that we’re even talking about legislation at the federal level that would increase the subminimum wage to match the regular minimum wage is a direct result of several years of incredible work led by ROC’s local leaders and worker members. Historically, tipped workers are excluded from minimum wage increases and thrown under the bus last minute — the federal tipped minimum has been $2.13 since 1991! We are already seeing major momentum for one, fair minimum wage at the state-level as we expect several states to propose legislation this year that would eliminate the two-tiered wage system and require all employers to pay all workers at least the full minimum wage, joining the seven other states that have already done so — Alaska, California, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Montana, and Nevada. This is the year of One Fair Wage.”

The poll conducted by Hart Research Associates and commissioned by NELP (National Employment Law Project)  is available here:http://www.nelp.org/page/-/rtmw/Minimum-Wage-Poll-Toplines-Jan-2015.pdf?nocdn=1

An accompanying explanatory memo is available here: http://www.nelp.org/page/-/rtmw/Minimum-Wage-Poll-Memo-Jan-2015.pdf?nocdn=1

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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.