ROC Action urges Senate to pass $15 minimum wage 

Today, Dr. Sekou Siby, president and CEO of ROC Action, issued the following response to the House passage of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which includes a $15 minimum wage provision:

The Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) Action applauds the House of Representatives for passing the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 that will provide immediate relief to the devastating impact of the pandemic on our country. 

We urge our trusted Senate leaders to pass the bill swiftly, along with the provision to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, to adequately address the needs of low-income workers, including millions of restaurant workers nationwide and lift their families and children out of poverty. 

Despite the Senate parliamentarian’s ruling to exclude the $15 minimum wage from the bill, we call on Senate Democrats to step up to the plate, fight for underserved women, people of color and immigrant restaurant workers, and deliver on what they have promised and what the American people need. The Senate Democrats hold the majority and have the power to overrule the parliamentarian’s decision that the Senate can’t use budget reconciliation to pass the $15 minimum wage provision.

Restaurant workers continue to bear the brunt of the pandemic; it is unacceptable to deprive them of the raise they deserve and the opportunity to provide sufficient food, safe housing and a better life for their families and loved ones.

More than 60 percent of Americans have spoken in support of the $15 minimum wage. Since Day 1 in his office, President Biden also wanted the $15 minimum wage. And, in 2019, the House of Representatives already voted to increase the minimum wage.

ROC Action abhors the false narrative that raising the minimum wage to $15, a gradual process that will phase in over five years, will result in job losses and hurt businesses. The truth is that the pandemic has laid bare a rigged economic model, according to an Oxfam report, that delivers profits for corporations on the back of the poorest.  

It’s time to give restaurant workers a $15 minimum wage increase—the fair pay they deserve.