FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 15, 2016
Contact: Tim Rusch, 917-399-0236, ruschtk@gmail.com
Dallas Donnell, 215-870-7076, dallas@rocunited.org

Restaurant Opportunities Center of Pennsylvania and Allies Take One Fair Wage Campaign Statewide

Broad coalition of advocates counter Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association’s annual lobbying event with day of action in Harrisburg

Action begins in Harrisburg with 12pm Press Conference at State Capitol.

Harrisburg, PA — Today, Restaurant Opportunities Center of Pennsylvania and its allies counter the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association’s annual lobbying day with it’s own day of action, uniting workers, employers, and activists from across Pennsylvania to urge legislators to eliminate the tipped minimum wage once and for all. While the PRLA urges legislators to maintain a status quo that subjects tens of thousands of tipped workers in Pennsylvania — disproportionately women and people of color — to financial insecurity, poverty, discrimination and sexual harassment, ROC members and their allies will be engaged in a series of activities and events to make the voices of workers heard, including:

  • ART: The construction of a mural, 30 feet long and 5 feet high, in front of the Capitol Building that conveys the urgency of the One Fair Wage movement.
  • DIALOGUE: Lobbying visits with PA legislators by delegations of workers, employers, and their advocates, educating and urging the elimination of the tipped minimum wage
  • ACTION: Workers and their allies will hold a press conference in front of the Capitol Building at 12pm, and will be a presence at the PRLA’s press conference at 1:30pm, as well as it’s “Taste of the State” reception at 5:00pm.

ROC United Co-Founder and Co-Director, Saru Jayaraman said,  “For nearly the past three decades, the PRLA has descended upon the Pennsylvania State Capitol with an army of business owners, lobbyists, and money in an effort to further crush working standards in the restaurant industry.” She continues, “As a result, the minimum wage in Pennsylvania has been raised only once in the last decade; paid sick days legislation has never even made it out of committee; wage theft legislation is nonexistent; and the tipped minimum wage has been frozen for nearly two decades. Enough is enough.”

In the wake of the release of Jayaraman’s critically-acclaimed new book Forked: A New Standard for American Dining, media coverage of the organization’s efforts have exploded; in the past month, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Bloomberg have all featured in-depth interviews and articles about Jayaraman, Forked, and the One Fair Wage movement:

Additionally, Democratic Presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have both called for the elimination of the tipped minimum wage.

With the One Fair Wage movement heating up across the country, ROC-PA and their allies are seizing this moment to confront and and challenge the PRLA and the National Restaurant Association head on. ROC-PA Director Sheila Maddali added, “The PRLA wins when we remain silent. We must raise our voices about the unjust tipped minimum wage, and urge our legislators to do the right thing; ignore the PRLA’s misinformation and establish One Fair Wage for all Pennsylvanians.”

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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 nearly 18,000 worker-members in more than 30 cities in the U.S., winning 15 worker-led campaigns, recovering $8 million in stolen tips and wages.