For Immediate Release: April 30, 2015
Contact: Maria Myotte, maria@rocunited.org, 720-352-6153

PA State Sen. Leach Introduces ‘One Fair Wage’ Bill To Raise Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour, Raise $2.83 Tipped Minimum Wage to Match Regular Minimum Wage

Bill Would Raise Wages for Majority Women Tipped Workers for First Time in 23 Years, Eliminate Two-Tiered Wage System

Philadelphia, PA — A day before historic legislation to raise the federal minimum wage and phase-out the lower, tipped minimum wage is introduced by Senator Murray and Representative Scott,  State Sen. Leach introduces crucial legislation that would raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour and eliminate the two-tiered wage system which forces a servers, bussers, bartenders, hosts, among others occupations, to live off tips for the bulk of their take-home pay.

Tipped restaurant workers in Pennsylvania — 70% of which are women — live in poverty at three-times the rate of other workers in the state. Their median hourly wage, including tips, is just $7.69, a mere few cents above the state’s minimum wage of $7.25. In fact, half of the ten lowest paying jobs in the state are restaurant jobs.

“No one can live off $2.83 and tips,” said Sam Jones, Policy Coordinator for Restaurant Opportunities Center of Pennsylvania. “The lower, separate minimum wage for tipped workers is unfair and problematic – it exacerbates sexual harassment and discrimination, and because living off tips is incredibly unstable, tipped workers deal with major obstacles like not being able to produce proof of stable income for rental applications. ROC commends Leach’s leadership in prioritizing $15 and ’one fair wage’ for PA workers.”

A recent national survey shows that 90% of women tipped restaurant workers experience sexual harassment at work.

Leach’s legislation is the latest development in One Fair Wage, a national and multi-state campaign spearheaded by Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United to eliminate the two-tiered wage system in favor of one fair wage.

National polling shows that 71% of the Americans support eliminating the two-tiered wage system and paying all workers the full, 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 worker-members across 26 cities in the US, winning 15 worker-led campaigns, totaling $8 million in stolen tips and wages.

‘One Fair Wage’ is part of the The Raise the Wage PA coalition, comprised of 54 organizations spanning religious, labor, workers’ rights, and women’s organizations including Lutheran Advocacy Ministry of PA, Women’s Law Project, Jobs With Justice, Fight for 15, 15 NOW, Unitarian Universalists, and more.