Earlier this month, President Trump’s Labor Department issued new rules that will slash the wages of tipped workers like waiters and bartenders.
There are almost 65,000 restaurant employees working right here in our district. These workers—two-thirds of whom are women—have hard, tiring jobs that require spending long hours on their feet, often late into the night. They need tips to make ends meet, because the minimum wage for tipped employees, which hasn’t increased in twenty years, is only $2.83 an hour.
Under the old rules, these workers were allowed to keep 100% of the tips they earned, which could often mean taking home an extra $10 an hour. Under the new rules, employers can decide to pay waiters and bartenders the $7.25 minimum wage for non-tipped employees, and then pocket all of those workers’ tips for themselves.
The restaurant industry has pumped almost $80 million into lobbying Congress over the last decade, hoping to make exactly these kinds of changes, so that huge chain restaurant corporations can pay their workers less and keep even more profit for themselves.
This is greed, pure and simple, and it’s time we stood up for our friends and neighbors who work in the restaurant industry. In the wealthiest country in the history of the world, it is deeply immoral to pay the thousands of working mothers in this district $2.83 an hour and leave them to pray that enough customers leave tips. Women in the service industry are constantly forced to tolerate sexual harassment from customers and coworkers in order to make sure they take home enough tips to feed their children. It’s time to put a stop to it.
I’m running for Congress so that we can guarantee a $15 an hour federal minimum wage for every worker, regardless of where they work. I will fight to make sure that tipped employees earn the same minimum wage as non-tipped employees, and that tipped employees can take home 100% of the tips they earn.
If you work in the service industry and want to share your concerns, I’m here to listen. And if you want to fight back against these rule changes right now, go leave a comment on the Federal Register’s page for the proposed rule change. If enough of us make our voices heard before the January 4 deadline, we can fix this.
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