With all of the organic and local items on menus, it has never been a better time to eat in our country. At the same time, this may be the worst time in a long time to be a restaurant worker. The wages of restaurant workers in Philadelphia have declined by 11% since 2003 and nationally, the tipped minimum wage hasn’t increased since 1991. Yesterday, five former workers from a popular Philadelphia sushi restaurant announced that they had reached a $40,000 settlement with their employer, showing a growing food worker movement a powerful example of how they can get organized and win.
Rachel Barnett is the proud mother of two children: Adrienne, 11, and Xavier, 8. She is a single mom who joined the hospitality industry six years ago to accommodate the needs of her children — one of whom had a serious illness at the time. Rachel has been a bartender for the past 5 years.
A self-described “people person,” Rachel loves to help and empower others in addition to entertaining and making people happy.
Rachel is a proud ROC Michigan member. She likens it to “killing two birds with one stone.” She is not only making connections that can lead to other opportunities for her career advancement but also advocating issues that directly impact people she cares about.
Over the past year or so, Rachel has been volunteering with the One Fair Wage Campaign because many of her industry friends “have taken a lot of crap from people because they needed the tips to survive.” Despite the disenfranchising efforts of powerful lobby groups and moneyed-interests, Rachel, along with her fellow colleagues and activists, look forward to continuing to fight for better wages and working conditions for Michigan’s tipped workers.
Rachel wants to be a part of something that makes life better for workers and their families. ROC is proud to have her as a part of our family.