Intentional Inequality Illinois
September 21, 2022 is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. This date represents the approximate time a Black woman must work into the new year to make the same amount that a white man made the previous year. The restaurant industry is no exception.
The restaurant industry has always had notoriously high gender and racial wage gaps. This has persisted through the pandemic and through record-high inflation in 2022. Black women across the restaurant industry make $2.57 an hour less than their white male counterparts, which can also be understood as $5,345 of income lost every year. Among front of house restaurant workers, this increases to $6.19 an hour, or $12,875 annually.
For Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, One Fair Wage explores how the Illinois restaurant industry’s widespread practice of paying workers a subminimum wage perpetuates large wage gaps among workers, yields rampant wage theft, and forced a massive exodus of workers from the industry.