Restaurant workers already living on the “mouth” face even more difficulties with coronavirus shutdown

Restaurant workers already living on the

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Restaurant servers that make money based on customer tips have seen their lives virtually disappear overnight. The food service industry has been upset by the economic consequences of the coronavirus closure, as have the workers who have continued to do so.

John DeBary, co-founder of the Restaurant Workers Community Foundation, is concerned about an estimated 13.5 million restaurant workers across the country affected by the coronavirus closure. “On good days, about 40% of restaurant workers live in poverty. The number is growing, and even employees who live outside the poor can actually live. I’m sending it, “he said.

For some people, these challenging financial conditions have roots in a separate lower federal minimum wage for tipping employees. Since 1991, the federal minimum wage for tip earners has been frozen at $ 2.13 per hour, compared to $ 7.25 for other workers. Federal law requires restaurants to ensure that all employees receive a minimum minimum wage and make up for the difference in missing tips, but it is difficult to enforce. Between 2010 and 2012, the US Department of Labor surveyed more than 9,000 restaurants and found that 84% violated wage and time laws.

Sarjaya Raman, director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley, described that food servers [waiters and waitresses] live “outside the mouth.” “Literally, the tips we get that night are used to feed our children the next day. If we can’t go back and get more tips, that’s it. Overwhelming,” she said. Said.

The food service industry is “always on the list of all the fastest growing industries in the United States, but nevertheless remains an absolute minimum wage employer in the United States,” Jayalaman added. The U.S. Department of Labor has published data on professional employment and wage estimates, and she explained, “All the lowest seven people [median wages] belong to one industry.” Although some states and cities have taken action to exceed the federal minimum wage above the federal minimum wage, only eight states need to pay tipping wage workers the normal minimum wage. According to a report published by the Institute for Economic Policy Research, states with high minimum wages for chips have much lower poverty rates for chip workers.

DeBary has been blessed with bartenders at upscale bars and restaurants in New York City, but has seen the community’s economic vulnerability before the coronavirus pandemic. He also said restaurant workers are “one or two days away from financial collapse and most people do not receive health insurance benefits from employer [or] sick leave.”

Single Mother’s Diary Books worked as a waitress in Kokomo, Indiana, but had a complication due to her son giving birth. Even when she was working healthy, Books was only enough to survive as a national chain store waitress and was looking for ways to supplement her income.

Nicki Books was waiting at a table at a national chain restaurant in Indiana.

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“I used to donate plasma, but since I have had surgery in the last six months, I can no longer donate plasma,” she said. The book and her toddler son were able to enroll in the Healthy Indiana Program [HIP]. Still, she couldn’t apply for sick leave because she didn’t time full-time as a food server. She is not eligible for disability benefits because her condition has been classified as reversible.

Mr DeBary said the structural problems in the food service industry have become so obvious that they can no longer be ignored. “Because restaurants work with such a narrow [profit] margin, they want to keep the time as low as possible for workers,” he said. He acknowledged that small independent restaurants and large corporate groups face different problems, but believes that solutions cannot rely on individual businesses to decide to do the right thing. “It really needs a legislative response,” he said.

On March 18, layoffs and business closures were widespread in the country, and the Family First Coronavirus Response Act was passed. Provides funding to increase paid sick leave and unemployment benefits. Still, under normal circumstances, almost a quarter of US workers do not have access to paid sick leave, including most food servers.

Jayaraman warns those who have access to these benefits: “In most states, paid sick leave is up to three to nine days. If the crisis continues, we will not last long.” did. And expanding unemployment benefits may not be enough. Jayaraman explained that food servers, bartenders, and other people who earn minimum wages have, in addition to minimum wages, unemployment benefits based on rough, often incorrect calculations of tips.

“In a functional society, if this happens and you have to fire a person, you need a safety net like unemployment insurance, but if unemployment insurance is based on a $ 2.13 wage, Screams why it should have been $ 2.13. Wages in the first place. ”

Sarjaya Raman is the director of the Food Labor Studies Center at the University of California, Berkeley and co-founder of the non-profit One Fair Wage.

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When Nicky Books was asked about unemployment benefits, she replied, “If I get it, it won’t be much because the pay on the server is so low.” The book survived modest but rapidly declining savings and ran out of her credit card. “If you need to buy a formula and make money by itself, you’ll live on cereals.”

One Fair Wage, co-founded by Jayaraman, is a non-profit organization advocating the abolition of the federal minimum wage for advanced workers. Recently, the Emergency Relief Fund was launched and received 10,000 requests for assistance in the first 24 hours. According to Jaya Raman, many seek help to feed their children and earn rent. Humanity Forward, an entrepreneur and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s non-profit organization, has also partnered with One Fair Wage to help families suffer.

DeBary was concerned that the people in need most needed the least access to it, and encouraged members of the community to seek help. “If you may not be proficient in [English] English and may not be able to access the web, let me explain the resources available to help.” “Some people are very hopeless.” He added.

He believes he will not return to business as usual when the worst of the crisis is over and the restaurant is reopened. “It’s not impossible, and it’s a matter of what people can think of about their role in creating a just society.”

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