Congress has been called upon to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. Since 1991, the federal minimum wage has been adjusted 5 times, increasing three dollars to its current $7.25. These changes have been made while the minimum wage for America’s largest workforce, tipped workers, has remained stagnant at $2.13 for 23 years.
Although tips are meant to be a gratuity that shows appreciation for good service, they have become the difference between poverty and a living wage for nearly 20 million Americans. Saru Jayaraman, founder of the labor advocacy group Restaurant Opportunity Centers United, says that abolishing the tipped minimum wage in favor of one fair wage will help reduce poverty, especially in families.
72 percent of the tipped workforce consists of women, and nearly half of those who have children are single mothers. The risk for a tipped worker to fall under the poverty line is three times higher than the national workforce, creating unique challenges for women, whose responsibility to be the sole or co-breadwinner for their family is rising.
Out of the 200 mothers ROC-United interviewed from Chicag (more…)