FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 26, 2016
Democratic Platform Draft Calls for $15 Minimum for All, Elimination of Tipped Wage
Democratic Platform’s Wage Proposal Would Bring Fair Base Wage to Millions, Improve Lives of Workers in Restaurant Industry
New York, NY — On Saturday afternoon, the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee issued a draft of the policy positions Sec. Clinton will be running on this November. As cited in a statement by Clinton campaign senior policy advisor Maya Harris, it “contains ambitious, progressive principles on wages, stating that working people should earn at least $15 an hour, citing New York’s minimum wage law and calling for raising and indexing the federal minimum wage. It also calls for the elimination of the ‘tipped’ wage and for the right of workers to form or join a union.”
Saru Jayaraman, co-founder of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United), a national leader on efforts to establish “One Fair Wage” and eliminate the tipped minimum wage, hails this as a victory:
“Establishing a $15 base wage for all workers and eliminating the tipped minimum is a major step toward correcting decades of injustice and improving the lives of millions of fellow Americans — especially women and people of color. The restaurant industry, in particular, has lagged way behind in wages: the federal tipped minimum has remained $2.13 for 25 years, and nearly half of tipped workers live near the poverty line. As a result of having to work for tips with no fair base wage, restaurant workers have to endure all kinds of sexual harassment from both customers and staff: 90% have reported experiencing sexual harassment on the job, according to our research. The separate tipped minimum wage also has created a ‘two-tier’ system that has placed an enormous burden on the restaurant business.
“Secretary Clinton pledged her support for eliminating the tipped minimum wage during a visit to ROC’s COLORS restaurant a few months ago, and we thank her, and Senator Sanders who has been an ardent supporter of One Fair Wage, and other members of the platform committee for working to bring a fair base wage to low-wage workers across the U.S.”
Tipped Wage Facts (view research here):
–The US is the only industrialized nation where tipped workers depend on tips for a majority of their income.
–With over 11 million employees, the restaurant industry is one of the largest growing industries in the nation, and the largest employer of minimum wage workers (1 in 12 Americans)
–90% of restaurant workers have been sexually harassed on the job; Absent a stable base wage, tipped workers are forced to tolerate inappropriate behavior from customers on whose tips they depend to feed their families, and from co-workers and management who often influence shifts and hours
–Nearly 70% of restaurant workers are women
–53% of tipped workers are people of color
–Half of restaurant workers live at or near the poverty line
–The last time the Federal tipped minimum wage was raised was in 1991
–1 in 7 tipped workers relies on food stamps to feed themselves and their families
About Restaurant Opportunities Centers United – www.rocunited.org
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 18,000 worker-members, 200 restaurant employer members, and several thousand consumer members in 15 states in the U.S., winning 15 worker-led campaigns, recovering $10 million in stolen tips and wages.
Read more about Saru Jayaraman’s new book Forked: A New Standard for American Dining at forkedthebook.com