ROC United Response to White House Report on Women & Tipped Minimum Wage

This morning, the White House released a new report detailing the impact of raising the minimum wage on women and the importance of a robust tipped wage. In response, Saru Jayaraman, co-founder & co-director of Restaurant Opportunities Centers Unite (ROC United) released the following statement:

“We are thrilled that today’s report from the White House echoes what we’ve been saying for years: the tipped minimum wage is a matter of gender justice. Although women continue to earn just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns, women are more than 70% of tipped restaurant workers.  As tipped workers, these women are not only almost three times as likely to live in poverty than other workers, but also suffer from legal gender pay discrimination, in which the restaurant industry gets away with paying women less than 33% of what they pay men—a circumstance actively perpetuated by the National Restaurant Association, the industry’s corporate lobby. Abysmal pay results in women in the restaurant industry living completely off their tips and being subjected to the worst sexual harassment of any industry. While 7% of American women work in restaurants, 37% of all sexual harassment charges filed with the EEOC come from restaurant workers, making it the single largest source of all sexual harassment charges.”

“There are virtually no compelling reasons why the restaurant industry shouldn’t raise the tipped minimum wage. It’s good for business and workers. Our latest research shows that employment and sales increase as the tipped minimum wage increases, the 7 states that have already abolished the subminimum wage have above average employment growth, and one of the highest costs of running a restaurant — turnover —  can be cut in half by raising wages. Small businesses overwhelmingly support raising the minimum wage and a majority of them are already paying above it, which means raising the minimum wage will require Congress to stand up to the National Restaurant Association. We hope this report compels more of our elected officials to stand with workers for a much-needed and deserved raise.”

Read the full fact sheet here:


Co-founded by labor rights leader 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 members across 26 cities in the US, winning 13 worker-led campaigns, totaling $7 million in stolen tips and wages.