Advocates For Restaurant Workers Call For 'One Fair Wage' in NJ

Dec 18, 2018

Advocates for restaurant employees say the industry should be included in a $15 minimum wage hike if it’s passed by the New Jersey legislature.

As the New Jersey legislature prepares to vote on a $15 minimum wage bill, advocates for restaurant employees are making their case to ensure the industry isn’t left out.

Seven states have a ‘One Fair Wage’ bill, where restaurant employees make the state minimum wage with tips on top.  Opponents of the restaurant wage hike say it would hurt the industry, particularly small businesses.  Advocates believe otherwise.

“These seven states have higher restaurant industry sales per capita, higher job growth in the restaurant industry, and among tipped workers, higher rates of tipping,” said Saru Jayaramon, President, Restaurant Opportunities Center.

Recent federal labor statistics show the restaurant industry is the fastest growing private sector employer in New Jersey yet provides the lowest paid jobs. Jayaramon says it promotes an unhealthy workplace environment.

“Our industry doesn’t just have the highest rates of harassment, it sets the standard for what is acceptable and tolerable in the workplace because we have allowed this one industry to get away with saying we shouldn’t pay our own workers’ wages, you the customer should pay our workers’ wages for us.”

Assembly speaker Craig Coughlin has introduced a minimum wage hike bill that would increase the restaurant employee sub wage up to five dollars and thirteen cents, but advocates say that’s not good enough.