I attended the ACLU membership conference this past weekend, which featured an incredible set of speakers, including Kerry Washington, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Patrisse Cullors! Be prepared for an influx of posts regarding the conference 🙂
What I especially loved about this conference is that the speakers gave concrete steps to take in order to support a larger movement (i.e. feminism, dismantling mass incarceration, etc).
The most memorable for me would be the One Fair Wage Campaign!
Currently, the restaurant industry is the largest employer of women in the United States, but because in 43 states, the minimum wage is ~$2.13, workers rely on tips for a majority of their income. Often they are subject to sexual harassment. The founder of One Fair Wage, Saru Jayaraman, said that one worker was even forced to show the cook her breasts in order to receive a properly made meal for the customer so that she can receive tips.
The website for the campaign does a phenomenal job at explaining the harms of a low minimum wage:
- “Since the restaurant industry does not pay its servers the minimum wage, servers are forced to rely on tips as their wage. Their employer gives them as little as $2.13 an hour (the federal tipped minimum wage since 1991), and then takes out taxes. This leaves them with $0 paychecks, obviously insufficient to pay rent or put food on the table for their families.
- Although employers are legally required to “top off” the pay of a person who works for tips if don’t add up to at least the minimum wage, enforcement is so lax and disorganized that wage theft has reached epidemic levels.
- The restaurant industry includes 7 of the 10 lowest paying jobs in the country. In fact, people who work in the industry are twice as likely to need food stamps than the rest of the US workforce, and three times as likely to live in poverty.
- Seventy percent of people who work in the restaurant industry are women. Since a living base wage is not guaranteed, and women are instead forced to depend on tips, they frequently have to put up with sexual harassment from customers, co-workers, and management. The EEOC has targeted the restaurant industry as the single largest source of sexual harassment charges filed by women with a rate FIVE TIMES higher than any other industry.”
What can you do?
- Click “Join Us” to sign the petition to establish the state-wide minimum wage for the restaurant industry.
- Click “State Campaigns” to see if your state has a campaign!
- Scroll to the bottom and click on “take action.”
a) Contact your state legislators to support One Fair Wage
b) Donate if you have extra change
c) Join the mailing list