Ending a Legacy of Slavery

How Biden’s Covid Relief Plan Cures the Racist Subminimum Wage

In 1963, the wage for tipped workers was $0 an hour, making them completely reliant on tips and therefore giving customers enormous power over staff. Today, nearly 60 years later, the federal minimum wage for tipped workers is just $2.13 an hour — a $2 increase — and this mostly women, disproportionately women of color tipped workforce still faces the highest levels of harassment of any industry because they must tolerate inappropriate customer behavior to earn nearly all of their income in tips. This situation has only worsened during the pandemic. But the subminimum wage for tipped workers, which caused extreme suffering for tens of millions of women over the last 150 years, might finally come to an end if Congress enacts the entirety of the minimum wage policy in Biden’s new $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.


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