Media Advisory for April 15, 2015
Contact: Maria Myotte, maria@rocunited.org, 720 352 6153

Restaurant Employers Gather in D.C. to Call on Federal Government to Reward Living Wage Employers with Federal Contracts, Support Federal Minimum Wage Increase

As Fast-Food Workers Strike Across the Country, Living Wage Restaurant-Employer Members of RAISE (Restaurants Advancing Industry Standards in Employment) Call On Elected Officials to Raise the Minimum Wage and Support Model Employers, Countering National Restaurant Association’s Annual Lobbying Day

RAISE Press Conference Immediately Followed by Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Forum on How the Federal Government Can Create Good Jobs

Washington, D.C. — On Wednesday, April 15th at 2:00 pm EST, model restaurant employers from across the country will gather for a press conference and hearing with the CPC on how the federal government can create good jobs.

Through a commitment to living wages and benefits like paid sick days, members of RAISE exhibit sustainable business practices for employees and consumers while boosting their bottom line. In stark contrast, Fortune 500 restaurant corporations and members of The National Restaurant Association, operate at a cost to the public through poverty-level wages that require workers to use public support programs like SNAP and Medicare to get by.

What: Press conference with RAISE members followed by CPC forum

Who: Members of RAISE, including Ji Hye Kim (Zingerman’s of Michigan), Taki Tanaka (Umi Sushi and Tapas of Connecticut) Ben Hall (Russell St. Deli of Michigan), James Mallios (Amali Restaurant of New York) and co-founder/co-director of Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United, Saru Jayaraman

When: 2:00pm – 2:25pm

Where: Room 1324 Longworth House Office Building (CPC forum held in same room afterwards)

RAISE includes almost 150 employers across the country who support minimum wage increases, paid sick days, and raising the lower, tipped minimum wage to match 100% of the regular minimum effectively eliminating the two-tiered wage system and ensuring ‘One Fair Wage’ for workers.

With nearly 11 million employees, the restaurant industry is the one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors in the country but reports show that nearly half of restaurant workers live in or near poverty.

The National Restaurant Association, including key members Darden Restaurants (parent company to Olive Garden) and McDonald’s, is a leading force in blocking minimum wage increases and keeping the federal tipped minimum wage frozen at $2.13 an hour since 1991. As a result, tipped workers, who are overwhelmingly women, use food stamps at double the rate of the rest of the U.S. workforce and are three-times as likely to live in poverty.

A new report to be released this week will detail the public cost of the full-service restaurant industry’s low wages.

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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.