Today, on the National Day of Action for ONE FAIR WAGE, Eve and One Billion Rising joined Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United), restaurant worker organizers, and elected officials in support of RISE FOR A FAIR WAGE. The rally at City Hall Park in New York City called for an increase in wages and an end to gender discrimination and sexual harassment in the restaurant industry.
“By letting the restaurant industry force women — who make up 70% of servers — to live off tips, one of the largest industries in the country demonstrates to women, many of whom find their 1st job in the industry, that their worth should somehow be linked to enduring forms of harassment and objectification,” said Saru Jayaraman, co-founder and co-director of ROC United.
The ‘Not On The Menu’ rally occurred in the midst of a series of public hearings held by the New York Wage Board, which is responsible for determining the future of NY’s $5 subminimum wage. The next hearing is October 20th in New York City. New York’s absolute lowest paying jobs are tipped restaurant occupations, with more than half of the state’s 230,000 tipped workers working in restaurants. New York is one of 43 states with a subminimum wage for tipped workers. Nationally, tipped workers use food stamps at double the rate of the rest of the US workforce and are three-times as likely to live in poverty.
Eve called on the crowd that was gathered to recognize that “[w]e cannot end sexual violence against women unless we understand the role of economic violence — which is perpetuated by a subminimum wage for tipped, and overwhelmingly female, workers. That’s why One Billion Rising is joining forces with ROC to raise awareness of the need to establish one, fair wage for all workers, regardless of their occupation.”
The day also featured speakers Marie Wilson (Co-founder of Ms.), Aleyamma Mathew (Ms. Foundation), Brad Lander (NYC City Council), Noreen Farrell (Equal Rights Advocates), Marisol Alcantara (West Harlem District Leader), Deborah Glick (New York State Assembly), and Ashley Ogogor (ROC member and current restaurant worker).