This is a moving train! ROC’s progress in New York and victories in DC and Michigan represent growing national momentum—a result of restaurant workers organizing and standing up for their rights. They are supported by women across many sectors, and hundreds of ‘high road’ employers who believe that paying workers a full livable wage is good for employers, consumers, and local economies alike.
Today, One Fair Wage is the law in 8 states (CA, NV, OR, WA, MN, MT, AK, and MI) and 2 municipalities, Washington DC and Flagstaff, AZ.
ROC has been fighting for One Fair Wage since 2013– requiring restaurants to pay a full livable wage to their employees rather than allowing them to pay a subminimum wage for tipped workers. A legacy of slavery, the federal minimum wage for tipped workers is just $2.13 an hour; a mostly female workforce of tipped workers in the US struggles with the highest rates of poverty and sexual harassment because they must tolerate inappropriate customer behavior to feed their families in tips.
Seven stateshave a fully implemented One Fair Wagepolicy and have higher restaurant sales per capita, higher job growth in restaurants, the same or higher tipping averages and one half the rate of sexual harassment as the 43 states with subminimum wages for tipped workers.
In late 2017, the One Fair Wage campaign received an enormous boost through the #MeToo and #TimesUpmovements, in which women from many different sectors stood with tipped workers. This led to Governor Cuomo announcing that he would move One Fair Wage policy in New York in January 2018.
Restaurant workers then organized to demand One Fair Wage in Washington, DC and won at the ballot box in June 2018. In Michigan, 400,000 voters signed petitions to put One Fair Wage on the November ballot. On September 5, Republican leadership in the Michigan legislature passed One Fair Wage to make sure it would not go to the November ballot and drive women, working people and people of color to the polls. Their intent is to unconstitutionally repeal the One Fair Wage provisions of the Michigan minimum wage law in the lame duck session later this year. The DC Council is also considering to ignore the will of the voters and repeal the initiative. While people overwhelmingly support raising wages for all workers and across all industries, the corporate interests shamelessly buy politicians and pour millions into campaigns against workers in some of the lowest paid occupations. This is a fight between Goliath and David—or Davida, since most workers in the restaurant industry are women. Join us in this ongoing fight for justice.