WASHINGTON (CBSDC)– On the heels of President Obama’s State of the Union address, during which he called for a raise in the federal minimum wage, restaurant workers met on Capitol Hill Wednesday morning to push for a bump in the tipped workers minimum wage.
The legislation the group would like to see passed would raise the hourly base wage from $2.13 to $3.75 per hour over the first three months, with incremental increases and adjustments after that.
The workers were joined by Restaurant Opportunities Centers United co-founder Saru Jayaraman and U.S. Congresswoman Donna Edwards, who first introduced the Working for Adequate Gains for Employment in Services (WAGES) Act in 2009. Edwards represents Maryland’s 4th district.
Jayaraman said the rally was part of the organization’s “annual day of action.” ROC United’s mission is to improve wages and working conditions for the nation’s low wage restaurant workforce.
Edwards, who waited tables to get through college, said she is no stranger to the struggle of the tipped worker.
“Tips get divided up and, more importantly, if it’s a slow night you don’t make any tips,” she said. “And when you get to the end of the week and you look at what you have, maybe you can make your rent, maybe you can’t.
WNEW’s John Domen contributed to this report. Follow him on Twitter.
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