On March 12th, 2018, the New York Times Editorial Board wrote,
“[The tip penalty] discrepancy hurts workers by putting them at greater risk of wage theft, sexual harassment and other workplace exploitation — bosses can easily withhold or steal tips, especially from workers they don’t like or who refuse their propositions. These are hardly idle threats, as demonstrated by the recent allegations of abuse against prominent chefs and restaurant owners and the multimillion-dollar wage theft settlements workers have secured in recent years by suing unscrupulous employers.”
Read the full NYTimes piece here: http://nyti.ms/2u4aeaV
The federal tipped minimum wage is $2.13. The service industry is one of the fastest growing job markets in the U.S., made up of a majority women workers. In light of the growing #metoo movement, many restaurant workers are organizing and standing up to call attention to rampant sexual harassment and wage theft.
The National Restaurant Association, no friend of workers, is a big business lobby that fights to roll back minimum wage victories won through the struggles and movements of working people in states and cities like Minneapolis, Seattle, California, and even republican controlled South Dakota. In Minneapolis, workers won a $15 minimum wage with Trump in office, and while the political establishment in City Hall first called $15 illegal, then impossible — but through building in communities, workplaces, on high school and college campuses, we won.
Our movement has shown that the #fightfor15 #15Now has been won by unapologetically relying on the independent power of working people, as a step to address the systematic racism, economic inequality, and sexism embedded and exemplified in U.S. capitalism. As Sarah Leonard pointed out in her piece on working class women addressing sexual predators who aren’t famous (like the Harvey Weinstein allegations that sparked #metoo), “For these women, shaming their bosses on Twitter or going to a newspaper is, unfortunately, rarely an option — if the predator doesn’t have a big public profile, few will notice the complaint except, perhaps, the guy with the power to fire the person complaining. That’s why women in these fields often take another route: collective action.”
With the Trump administration attacking workers rights and rolling back department of labor protections, it’s more urgent than ever to fight back, to defend what workers movements have won in the past, and demand #15forAll workers.