FUTURES Supports Proposed Increase to New York State’s Tipped Minimum Wage
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Futures Without Violence Supports Proposed Increase to New York State’s Tipped Minimum Wage
Changes Could Help Reduce Gender-based Violence and Harassment in the Restaurant Industry and Beyond
SAN FRANCISCO (February 27, 2015)—National nonprofit Futures Without Violence applauds Governor Cuomo for his call this week to increase the tipped minimum wage and review the current two-tiered wage system. These proposed changes present an opportunity to significantly reduce sexual harassment and abuse among tipped employees in the restaurant industry—a predominately female workforce. The restaurant industry is the single largest source of sexual harassment charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
“The Governor’s efforts are an important step toward eliminating economic barriers that leave women vulnerable to violence in and out of the workplace,” said Futures Without Violence Founder and President Esta Soler. “Creating one fair wage for tipped workers not only helps create a safe and productive work environment, it can also empower victims of domestic abuse to leave economically-dependent relationships.”
The New York Wage Board has recommended a wage increase for 400,000 tipped employees, raising it from $5.00 to $7.50 an hour. (See more at: http://labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/laborstandards/pdfs/wage_board_order.pdf) More than 70 percent of tipped restaurant workers nationally are women. According to the Restaurant Opportunity Center, tipped restaurant workers are twice as likely to use food stamps than the general workforce, and are three times as likely to live in poverty.
“Forcing workers to rely on tips creates a coercive work environment that leaves workers vulnerable to unwanted sexual behavior by restaurant patrons and management,” said Soler. “No worker should feel like they have to be subjected to sexual violence in order to feed and clothe themselves and their families.”
Through its Workplaces Respond to Domestic and Sexual Violence project, Futures Without Violence is working with employers and organizations, including the Restaurant Opportunity Center, to implement workplace policies and practices that support victims of abuse and prevent coercive and violent behavior. To learn more about the organization’s work to prevent gender-based violence against low-wage workers, visit: http://www.futureswithoutviolence.org/workplace-safety-inequality/low-wage-worker-project/.
Futures Without Violence
Futures Without Violence is a national nonprofit organization leading groundbreaking educational programs, policies, and campaigns that empower individuals and organizations working to end violence against women and children around the world. Providing leadership from offices in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Boston, the organization has trained thousands of professionals and advocates–such as doctors, nurses, judges, athletic coaches, and other community influences–on improving responses to violence and abuse.