Sunday, February 19, 2012

(National) Restaurant Industry, Low Wage Work, and Gender Inequality

On the heels of the last post on the effort by the Florida restaurant industry to reduce the minimum wage for Florida restaurant tip workers, the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United has released its latest report "Tipped Over The Edge: Gender Inequality in the Restaurant Industry".  In addition to promoting low-wage poverty level work, the industry is also contributing to gender inequality and discrimination.

Just a few of the report's findings:

"The federal subminimum wage for tipped workers has been frozen at $2.13 since 1991, losing 40 percent of its value in real terms. Employers are allowed by law to pay $2.13 per hour to tipped employees as long as tips make up the difference between $2.13 and $7.25."

"Servers, who are 71 percent female, comprise the largest group of all tipped workers, and experience almost three times the poverty rate of the workforce as a whole.  Consequently, servers rely on food stamps at nearly double the rate of the general population. Essentially, many of the workers who serve America its food cannot afford to eat."

"The typical full-time, year round, female restaurant worker is
paid 79 percent of what her male counterpart earns."

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