Persistent Legacy of Slavery

Ending the Subminimum Wage for Tipped Workers as a Racial Equity Measure

In 2020, both the COVID-19 pandemic and the uprisings for racial justice catalyzed by the police murder of George Floyd illuminated the repression, precarity, and exclusion facing people of color, particularly Black people, throughout U.S. society. This year has brought to the forefront three major sources of violence and harm to Black communities and communities of color more generally: police violence, health inequities and economic precarity. The nexus of these three forces is acutely felt by one of the largest workforces in the country — tipped service workers.

This report, based both on government data and recent surveys and interviews with restaurant workers across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic, updates our previous report on the New York race and gender pay gap in the restaurant industry by comparing the pay gap between Black women and White men in restaurant dining floors in all states with significant Black populations, and the current experience of workers of color nationwide.


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