By Andrea Lindsay, Food Justice Project Volunteer
Last week, the Food Chain Workers Alliance put out the call to “thank a food worker” and take action as part of the second annual International Food Workers Week. In addition to attracting significant media coverage and raising money to support food workers around the country, the Food Chain Workers Alliance celebrated passing the 100,000 signature mark on their petition to raise the federal tipped minimum wage during the IFWW “Twitterstorm Tuesday.”
Although the minimum wage in Washington state (the highest in the nation) is $9.19 an hour for both tipped and non-tipped workers, non-tipped workers in states without their own minimum wage laws earn only $2.13 an hour. After taxes have been deducted from their paycheck, this often means that workers must live off of their tips alone. The federal tipped minimum wage has not been raised in 22 years, thanks in large part to the lobbying efforts of the National Restaurant Association, the “other NRA”.
The Food Chain Workers Alliance and the Restaurant Opportunities Center, an organization founded in New York to support the workers from a World Trade Center restaurant that now supports restaurant workers across the country, are petitioning in support of the Miller-Harkin Fair Minimum Wage Act. This bill would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10/hour over the next 3 years and the tipped minimum wage from $2.13 to 70% of the regular minimum wage.
The Restaurant Opportunities Center is also campaigning to support paid sick days through the Healthy Families Act