This week we celebrated Juneteenth, a holiday that commemorates the abolition of slavery in the United States. It is a day that should be important to all Americans, but it has a particular significance for our industry.
The best kept secret regarding the subminimum wage system is that it is a legacy of slavery. In the wake of emancipation, employers resented having to actually pay African American former slaves for their hard work. Instead, black workers were compensated through customer tips rather than a fair wage from their employers. Thanks to the persistent efforts of the National Restaurant Association, this legacy of slavery still persists today.
As we press on with our movement for One Fair Wage, it is critical we recognize how far we’ve come, and the significance of this important work. As little as $2.13 per hour at the federal level, the tipped minimum wage denies tipped workers the dignity and stability they need to support their families. They experience disproportionate rates of poverty, discrimination, and sexual harassment as a result of living off tips.
Enough is enough. This week, join us in celebrating the end of slavery in a America, and stand with us as we work to forge an America where everyone has a seat at the table. Click here to learn more about the One Fair Wage movement.