Restaurant Opportunities Centers United Co-Founder and Co-Director, Saru Jayaraman, responded to reports that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump fired women employees who weren’t “pretty enough.”
"We are appalled by reports that Republican Presidential candidate, Donald Trump, allegedly ordered women staff members at his resorts and golf courses fired if they were not ‘pretty enough.’ For decades, Mr. Trump has consistently demonstrated ignorance, sexism, and misogyny. He is aided by policymakers and a restaurant industry that allow employers like Mr. Trump to get away with these kind of practices by upholding a subminimum wage system. This system forces workers to live off tips, thus elevating one’s appearance—over skill, merit or integrity—as the criteria by which you earn more money.
"These revelations likely come as no surprise to the millions of women who work in America's bars and restaurants. 70 percent of our nation's restaurant workers are women who work for the tipped minimum wage, which can be as low as $2.13 per hour. The tipped minimum wage forces workers to rely on tips from customers to survive, making them vulnerable to abuses and indignities like sexual harassment. According to ROC's own research, a whopping 90 percent of restaurant workers have been sexually harassed on the job. Their struggles account for the majority of complaints to the EEOC. The elimination of the tipped minimum wage and establishment of One Fair Wage for all workers would transform the lives of these women. One Fair Wage would produce financial stability with making women less vulnerable to harassment and discrimination.
“There is incredible momentum behind this movement. Seven states—including California and the entire West Coast—have already eliminated the tipped minimum wage and are watching their restaurant industries soar. According to research, women restaurant workers in One Fair Wage States experience 50 percent less sexual harassment than their counterparts in the 43 states that have a lower wage for tipped workers. Support for One Fair Wage is growing. The White House and the Department of Labor have endorsed One Fair Wage. Also One Fair Wage is included in this year's Democratic Party Platform, and enthusiastically endorsed by Presidential Candidate, Hillary Clinton. Clearly, America is ready for One Fair Wage.”