Portland - One Fair Wage Hits the Streets to Celebrate International Women's Day 2022
Since the pandemic, restaurant workers have been leaving the industry in droves. Our research reveals that 53 percent of restaurant workers surveyed are considering leaving the industry, 70 percent of whom are citing low wages and tips as their primary reason for leaving, and 78 percent of workers state that the only reason they would stay in the industry is if they received a livable wage with tips on top. In response to this staffing crisis, thousands of restaurants nationwide have raised their wages to get workers to attract and retain staff, but this measure is not enough. Through state campaigns, we are focusing on raising wages for tipped workers so that the 1 million restaurant workers who have left since the onset of the pandemic can return to an industry that fairly compensates essential workers.
In Maine, people voted to raise the minimum wage for all workers, including tipped workers, in 2016. In 2017, however, the Maine legislature voted to reinstate the subminimum wage for tipped workers– resulting in tipped workers receiving only half of the Maine minimum wage. In the spring and summer of 2022, we will begin collecting signatures to engage restaurant and other low-wage workers across the state of Maine in the ballot collection process and to build buy-in amongst our leaders. Through ballot initiatives, we can signal to workers that the restaurant industry is willing to pay fair wages for their labor. One Fair Wage plans to file a ballot measure in November 2023. With partners, we can raise the state minimum wage to $18 an hour to end the subminimum wage for all workers.
Measure D will require all restaurants in Portland to pay the full minimum wage with tips on top. The 7 states that already do this (CA, OR, WA, NV, MN, MT and AK) have higher restaurant sales, higher job growth rates, and the same or higher tipping averages compared to Portland.”
The Key To Saving The Maine Restaurant Industry Post-COVID 19
Poll: Representative Sample Polling of Tipped Workers in Maine, New Hampshire, and Delaware
How the Raise the Wage Act Will Decrease Worker Poverty and Increase Small Business Success in the Maine Restaurant Industry