Restaurant Owners Stand with Reps. Miller and Edwards to Support Better Wages and Treatment for Restaurant Workers
By Mel Fabrikant Friday, April 19 2013 @ 03:34 PM EDT
ROC United Announces the Formation of New Alternative Restaurant Association - RAISE (Restaurants Advancing Industry Standards in Employment),
On Wednesday, April 17, the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United) announced the formation of RAISE (Restaurants Advancing Industry Standards in Employment), an alternative restaurant association of nearly 100 business owners across the country aimed at supporting business owners and employers—and the workers they employ. The announcement comes the same week as the National Restaurant Association, employing lobbyists representing some of the country’s largest chain restaurant corporations, is scheduled to come to the Hill for their annual “lobby day.”
"For too long Congress has heard only from the National Restaurant Association—the other NRA—which represents corporate lobbyists in the restaurant industry,” said Saru Jayaraman, co-founder of ROC United. “RAISE represents the voices of small sustainable restaurant owners who make long term profits by providing livable wages and benefits to their employees."
RAISE aims to support small and medium-sized business owners as they move towards the "High Road" to profitability by raising the standards by which we do business. “High Road” practices include:
? Livable wages, tipped and non-tipped
? Paid sick days
? Access to affordable health care
? Safe and healthy workplace
? Diverse and equitable employment
? Career advancement opportunities
? Responsible immigration reform
? Environmental sustainability
Rep. George Miller (D-CA), sponsor of the recently introduced Fair Minimum Wage Act, and WAGES Act sponsor Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D-MD) joined Jayaraman and several member employers to discuss the need to increase the minimum wage for all restaurant employees, including those who work for tips, and to raise standards in the restaurant industry by supporting sustainable and fair practices. Among the restaurant owners present were Andy Shallal, owner of DC’S Busboys & Poets and Eatonville Restaurants, Teresa Ging, owner of Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique in Chicago, IL and Natan Zion, Owner, The Gorbals Restaurant in Los Angeles, CA.
“I’m proud to stand with responsible restaurant owners to begin to change the conversation with the help of RAISE, because change happens when people of good faith and intentions come together to speak with one voice,” said Miller. “And that message is clear: it’s time to raise the tipped minimum wage, and it’s time to raise the federal minimum wage. It makes sense, it’s sustainable, and the higher wages go right back into the economy. Now let’s get to work.”
Rep. Miller’s Fair Minimum Wage Act would reconnect the regular and tipped minimum wage while raising both, stabilizing the restaurant industry just as it is project to grow by 10.6% over the next ten years. Raising the tipped minimum wage will help lift many restaurant workers out of poverty and provide a path to the middle class for millions of Americans.
“It is wrong that the workers who serve us do not earn enough to put food on their tables ,” said Rep. Edwards. “I am proud to join Ranking Member Miller, the Restaurant Opportunities Center, and 100 business owners across the country to form RAISE and support employers who want to raise wages for their restaurant workers. The minimum wage should be tied to inflation—not just cost-of-living—and include tipped wages. I look forward to working with President Obama, my colleagues in Congress, and restaurant employers and workers who share in the common goal of fair wages for honest work.”