Tipped workers in New York need your help. Since the pandemic began, sexual harassment has increased in service industries, according to a report released this week by One Fair Wage and the Time’s Up Foundation called Take Your Mask Off So I Know How Much to Tip You.
One Fair Wage shares a summary of more than 2,000 surveys of tipped workers in six states:
“Half of all workers report that someone in their restaurant has gotten the virus, and a vast majority say they cannot enforce social distancing and mask rules on the same customers from whom they have to get tips. But even more horrifically, the report includes six pages of hundreds of comments from women servers reporting that male customers told them to take off their masks to judge their looks and therefore their tips on that basis.”
If these tipped workers were paid at least minimum wage rather than the subminimum wage, they would not be so reliant on tips from predatory customers that they feel obligated to remove their masks, putting themselves and their families at risk.
New York Governor Cuomo is considering eliminating the subminimum wage in New York before the end of the year. We’re asking our supporters to call the Governor and ask him to move forward with eliminating the subminimum wage so tipped workers don’t have to put up with sexual harassment just to ensure they can make a minimum hourly wage.
Doing so would also end the legacy of slavery that still exists in our service industries: the subminimum wage for tipped workers was created during the Jim Crow era so restaurant owners wouldn’t have to pay newly freed Black workers minimum wage.
Workers need One Fair Wage now as a COVID relief measure. It’s time to end this outrageous, life-threatening situation for hundreds of thousands of tipped workers. Please call Gov. Cuomo now.