We need to make our voices heard to ensure that the bill passes through Congress. To do that, we are collecting stories of service industry workers across the country to show our support for One Fair Wage for ALL. Please join us by sharing your experiences.
The need for One Fair Wage – a full minimum wage of $15 with tips on top – has never been greater than now. We have returned to work to face very dangerous conditions, including potential exposure to COVID-19 and increased hostility and sexual harassment from customers, all for a subminimum wage with tips down 50-75%. This is long overdue.
We are at a critical moment for tipped service industry workers. We are essential workers, yet we are facing unprecedented rates of housing and food insecurity, unemployment and poverty.
Join the fight for fair wages by sharing your story!
“I finally stopped waiting for my employers to truly acknowledge my worth and put in my two weeks’ notice. No amount of “thanks” or “we want you to be a top gun, because you exemplify our values” could make me stay any longer at this point. I’d poured too much of myself into my time there and was continually not properly compensated.”
“[When the pandemic hit] Not only did the regulars change, but the whole demographic changed, and tips changed. The worst experience I had was with an older gentleman and his wife. He was the type of customer who required a lot of attention and time, and at the end of the service as I dropped his check he asked me to take off my mask so he could see if the bottom was as cute as the top. I said I couldn’t, and he told me since he couldn’t look at my face, it forced him to focus on my breasts.”
“It’s extremely expensive to live in the Bay Area, where a living wage is closer to $30/hour. Because of that, gigs are very competitive, and I’ve alway had to have 2-3 jobs at once to stitch together a livable income, and the constant hustling can wear on you mentally and emotionally. Then there’ll be times when a shift would be slow, and management would send me home early, thereby cutting my wage short for the day…We all deserve to prosper and live with dignity and respect, regardless of where we live or what we do. Having basic economic security will make it a little easier to fight our other battles.”
“I worked in the service industry for the past 15 years. With the wages that are going on now, I will not return to work unless things change. No one can survive with our health benefits and current minimum wage. If things don’t change, no one will return to work.“
“Between the ages of 16 and 28 I worked for hourly wage jobs that paid me anywhere between $5.50/hr. to $10.00/hr. At no point in working anywhere along this wage scale was I able to independently provide for myself financially, and despite requiring a full-time time commitment from week to week, it was rare to get over 30 hours. Raising the wage is about getting hourly workers the value of their labor back, as the sale of the product depends entirely on them, not the parasites pocketing the majority of take. It’s not a hand-out, its backpay that’s long overdue.”
“I believe One Fair Wage is VERY important and helpful for speaking and fighting for everyone in the industry. Nobody deserves to be worked like and treated like a dog. This is a passion of MANY and we put our all into this, therefore we should receive the pay we deserve.”
“I’m a community organizer and Mental Health rights advocate in NH. I am gender non-binary and go by They/Them/Theirs pronouns. I deliver pizza and have worked for over a decade in the foodservice industry. One way to make progress is to guarantee a 15$ minimum wage for tipped workers. We are professionals and we deserve professional pay that meets the needs of living in 2021 and beyond.”
“The restaurant industry in New Hampshire is like a locker room. Racism, sexism, and homophobia are rampant. Racism is casual in this whole state. I left the industry because of the 12 hour days. It’s hard to survive off of tips and $6 an hour. There were times I couldn’t even pay my rent.”
“The people of Washington DC voted to give workers like me a raise through One Fair Wage with tips on top, also known as Initiative 77. But the city council overruled the will of the voters. Now, the same thing is happening at the federal level. The White House needs to use their power and Raise The Wage now, for all workers, including tipped workers, youth workers, and workers with disabilities.”
“I’ve worked as a server in Boston for over 20 years. I have four and two grandchildren. I’m also a worker leader of One Fair Wage. When workers are paid less than the minimum wage, it contributes to a culture of exploitation. While I love my job because the schedule is flexible, it’s hard to make a living off of tips alone. This is why we are asking for one fair wage. When workers are paid less than the minimum wage, it contributes to a culture of exploitation. I will continue to fight for my son who also works in restaurants and for a more just world for my grandchildren!”
“I am a single mom of a 12 year old boy and I’ve worked as a tipped worker for 25 years. I’ve been a server, hostess, bartender and manager. My hours were cut substantially due to the pandemic. We were closed from March-July 2020. My son and I struggled and almost got evicted. I had to rely on a food pantry to feed my son. It‘s has been really stressful at work and I’m not making as much in tips. Enforcing Covid-19 safety protocols and ensuring customers abide by mask mandates has been a challenge too. We need $15 an hour with tips. It’s the only way to help workers.”
“I have been a tipped service worker for over 12 years. I have served, bartended, worked as a food runner, helped run the hostess stand and everything in between in the restaurant business. I along with my fellow service workers have suffered greatly during the pandemic. Not only have tips and tables reduced drastically, we are also expected to put our lives on the front line for customers who refuse to wear masks, for 50-75% less of the pay. Many of us are overwhelmed with stress, barely able to make ends meet as well as having to worry about whether we are going to catch covid 19 and bring it home to our loved ones.”
“ I began waitressing in NH, where servers are paid a subminimum wage in an industry where the standard is to require the workers who make half of minimum wage to also share the tips they rely on with coworkers who are making a minimum wage.”
“I have been a server for 35 yrs. Over those year, I have had to put up with all kinds of sexual harassment and aggressive harassment. But nothing has ever put my safety or health at risk until Covid. One of my guests asked me to pull my mask down to see if my face was as pretty as the other half. I know it’s not right but, I did it because I needed the tip. This is MASKUAL HARASSMENT and it happens way too often.”
“This Legacy of slavery must end and the exploitation of a workforce that is mainly built up of mostly women and people of color. Living off of barely two dollars an hour plus tips forces us to endure and even tolerate inappropriate customer behavior since tips make up the bulk of our pay. It’s kind of crazy. During the pandemic we were asked to do and provide more service by enforcing covid-19 protocols, like social distancing and mask rules in a high-risk environment. Many of us were furloughed and even laid off, or still in eligible for unemployment because yet again the sub-minimum wage including the tips were too low to qualify. Raise the Wage now!”
“I’ve experienced a hostile work environment more than once when I worked as a server. I worked with an owner who regularly made the work environment extremely uncomfortable. He made derogatory comments about Muslims, women and people of color. He referred to black people as “urbans”, fired a single mom because he thought she was annoying, and made the comment “it isn’t rape if it’s your wife” so loud he could be heard in the dining room while we were working. “
“I need $15 an hour including tips because it means security, safety, and the end of a sexist racist legacy.”
“My name is Lex, and I am one of the millions of unemployed restaurant workers struggling through this unprecedented decimation of our industry. I have been touched without my consent, taunted, insulted, and degraded at all of my former workplaces by both management and guests. I have been stalked. I’ve cried in the walk-in, like everyone else here. I have witnessed the racist treatment of my black and brown coworkers, including undocumented coworkers threatened with deportation. I cannot count how many times I have been unsure of how I would pay rent. The sub-minimum wage needs to be immediately abolished and we need a true living wage for every worker.”