These are challenging times for essential service workers, workers of color, and womxn-identifying workers and mothers especially. We write today to ask for your support for these frontline workers. Tipped service workers, including servers, bartenders, delivery workers, and more, are starting a series of monthly strikes this coming Monday, August 31, demanding a full minimum wage with tips on top, at a time when tips are down 50-75%. These workers’ subminimum wages have caused a horrific experience for them during this pandemic, as has also been the case for so many other essential workers in other sectors.

Credit: Paul Leibow

At Monday’s rally, we will be introducing Elena the Essential Worker, whom we hope can stand on the shoulders of Rosie the Riveter to serve as a new face in the fight for economic, racial, and gender justice!

Please scroll below to read Elena’s biography and to learn more about this powerful piece of artwork by Paul Leibow. Elena will measure 24 ft high and be dressed as service in a visual representation of the fight for One Fair Wage. She will make her world debut at worker strike locations this coming Monday in New York and Chicago. From there, Elena the Essential will hit the road and make appearances in Boston, Philadelphia, D.C. and Orlando (5-6 different art pieces).

We share Elena’s ‘Coming Out’ on the heels of a historic strike vote by tipped service workers on August 24, 2020. With a unanimous vote, service workers who have been organizing and mobilizing for change all over the country will take to the streets on Monday, August 31st for a one-day strike in New York and Chicago in solidarity with tipped service workers in their cities and all over the country who have to rely on tips to make ends meet. The strikes will be growing to more cities — at least to Boston, Philadelphia, D.C. and Orlando — at the end of September, and then again at the end of each month until we win One Fair Wage — a full minimum wage with tips on top.

Can you come see Elena IRL and join striking service workers in a socially-distant action & picket line in solidarity? If so, please register here!

If you can’t be with us, we’d greatly appreciate it if you could use this Social Media Tool to share this timely solidarity alert on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can also make your voice heard by signing the petition at and share it with your friends!

Thank you for supporting this important movement for social, racial and economic justice for all! #1FairWage #NoWorkerLeftBehind #1BillionRising #FightDontStarve

In Solidarity,
Saru Jayaraman, One Fair Wage President & Co-Founder
& V (formerly Eve Ensler), One Billion Rising Founder

Elena’s the Essential Service Worker Biography

Elena the Essential Worker stepped into her power and emerged during an unprecedented global pandemic, a resulting economic crisis and a global uprising for racial justice. She is a 24-ft tall, strong, striking example of the strength and perseverance that all women across the world collectively possess.

Elena is a fierce fighter for social justice — advocating for the rights of all workers, including immigrants, indigenous folks, LGBTQI+ individuals, and people of color.

She was born 30 years ago and immigrated to the United States with her family as a young girl. She is a single working mom with two young children who are her world. She believes fiercely in creating worker power at the grassroots level and fighting for a better tomorrow for her children and all those experience poverty, dangerous working conditions, and subminimum wages.

Fun fact: Elena is the granddaughter of Rosie the Riveter. She is boldly following her grandmother’s powerful legacy of womxn labor leaders fighting for justice. We can’t wait for you to meet her! She will be traveling the country bringing our fight to a city near you. Follow us at to stay up-to-date on her upcoming stops!