Clocking In is a new online tool from Race Forward, a New York-based group whose self-described goal “is to build awareness, solutions and leadership for racial justice.” Its analysis finds disturbing trends for people of color and women employed in the U.S. service industry. This virtual resource allows service employees to share their real-life job experiences with other workers, consumers, employers and policymakers 24/7.
Clocking In sends participants on a virtual journey while offering activist information on a range of workplace issues. Visitors choose one of three employment portals representing the restaurant, retail or domestic industries.
Clicking the restaurant option, for example, brings up a screen that says: “Workers in the restaurant industry face race and gender discrimination daily! Click ‘Start’ to learn from Race Forward and Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC) about how it happens and what YOU can do about it!”
Next is a choice to click a male or female character.
California is one of only seven states that pays tipped workers their state’s minimum wage instead of the penurious $2.13 (the federal minimum) to $5 range. California’s wait staff and other service workers collect a $9 hourly minimum—plus gratuities. Legislation will raise the state minimum wage to $10 hourly next year. But that won’t apply to tipped workers, if a proposed bill passes the California legislature and becomes law.
Assembly Bill 669 was sponsored by the California Restaurant Association (CRA) and introduced by Assemblyman Tom Daly (D-Anaheim). Daly’s bill would cap the minimum wage for California’s tipped workers at $9 if they earn a total of $15 hourly. Far more disturbing to low-income service employees, however, is a passage embedded in the bill that could undo local minimum wage ordinances previously approved by voters in Oakland, Richmond, San Francisco and San Jose.
Those measures would be overturned unless they “specifically reference” the Daly bill’s language – an unlikelihood,
Are zero-dollar pay stubs and sub-minimum wages really what keep the restaurant industry afloat? That’s what one powerful lobbying group would have us believe.
Taylor Lee can tell you the real impact of minimum wages for tipped workers. Taylor is a 23-year-old restaurant server working in Berkeley, California. Like two-thirds of tipped workers, she is a woman. In California, the minimum wage is currently $8 per hour, whether you get tips or not. This is the amount that Taylor’s employer pays her, “but with tips, if it’s really slow, I make $12 per hour,” she says. “My average wage is about $18-20 per hour.”
From 2006 to 2013, Taylor worked as a server at restaurants in Florida. The minimum wage in Florida is $7.93, but the minimum wage for tipped workers is $4.91. She worked at a Japanese restaurant as a server. If she didn’t get enough tips to make it to $7.93 per hour,
Thanksgiving is a time of year when most people give thanks for their family and their friends, for having a job (if they are lucky to have one) and for many other things in their lives. I am hoping that this year, you also give thanks to the hands that feed us.
The Food Chain Workers Alliance is launching the first annual International Food Workers Week during this Thanksgiving week (November 18-24) to bring more awareness to the hands that feed us – from the Native Americans and African slaves of not so long ago, to the Asian and Latino immigrant farm workers from the middle of the last century, and especially the nearly 20 million people in the U.S. from all races, ethnicities and genders who today ensure that food gets from the farm to our plates.
Yes, you are reading that right. About 20 million people work in America’s food system.