By SARU JAYARAMAN --This is a special Labor Day for the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC). 2011 is an incredible year – not only the 10th anniversary of 9/11, and the origins of our founding, but also the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. We see so many parallels in the incredibly labor movement built in the aftermath of that tragedy, and the restaurant worker movement we are trying to build in the aftermath of 9/11.
We need your help. It’s now up to New York state’s Acting Commissioner of Labor to issue a Wage Order to lift up the fate of New York’s 229,000 tipped workers workers who are forced to live off tips instead of a reliable base wage from their employers. Send a message today — your voice matters!
After nearly six months of deliberations over whether to raise the lower, tipped wage for tipped workers – currently frozen at $5 an hour – the Wage Board issued five proposals.
Four of the proposals represent real progress toward the goal of One Fair Wage by giving tipped workers a significant, and long overdue raise and calling for an investigation into the continued existence of the two-tiered wage system. One of the proposals, however, is disastrous. Not only would it roll back needed wage increases for tipped workers, but it would unnecessarily complicate a system already rife with wage violations.
Now Governor Cuomo and Labor Commissioner Musolino must decide which of these proposals they will enact. We have the chance to weigh in: Musolino will be accepting emails from the public for the next couple weeks, but so far he’s heard mainly from big business telling him to reject the entire proposal.
Tipped workers live in poverty and rely on food stamps at double the rate of the rest of New York’s workforce. In many cases, the people that serve us cannot afford to put food on their own tables — an unfair burden that falls predominantly on women!
New York is ready for One Fair Wage: 75% of New York State voters support raising the tipped minimum wage up to the regular minimum wage, The New York Times called for an end to the two-tiered wage system in their recent editorial, ‘It Is Time to End Subminimum Wages,’ and this issue is getting national attention — last week, ROC’s co-director, Saru Jayaraman, appeared on ‘The View’ with Rosie O’Donnell and Eve Ensler calling on New York State to do the right thing for tipped workers!