UPDATE: Restaurant Workers Praise California Legislator For Bill That Would Raise Minimum Wage
That didn’t take long. After a number of protests and gatherings calling for a higher minimum wage over the past month, U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) has introduced the ‘Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2012.’ The bill would raise the minimum wage three times over the next three years, in 85-cent intervals for both hourly and tipped workers. It will be indexed to inflation each year thereafter.
As it stands, both federal and Pennsylvania minimum wage is at $7.25. If the bill passes, by 2016, it’d be at $9.80. For tipped workers, which includes many in the restaurant industry, it currently stands at $2.13 nationally (where it has been since 1991), and $2.83 in Pennsylvania.
“We are ecstatic to hear that California Congressman George Miller and 100 house Democrats introduced the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2012,” says Fabricio Rodriguez, lead coordinator of the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Philadelphia (Philly ROC), a nonprofit dedicated to improving restaurant jobs. “Raising the minimum wage is the best way to get our economy back on track. Every additional dollar given to a low-waged worker goes right back into our local economy.”
The ROC co-organized a march through Center City earlier this week to raise the minimum wage. Rodriguez was joined by ROC member Matthew Hillyer, who noted most of his friends in the restaurant industry live “day to day.”
Rodriguez told PW his goal is a $5.50 minimum wage. Miller’s bill would not get there immediately, though the rate would continually rise with inflation.
Saru Jayaraman, co-director of ROC United, released a statement regarding Miller’s bill, which reads in part: “Miller’s bill represents the first initiative by House leadership that would include a much-needed increase for tipped workers in more than 15 years, and we cannot thank him enough. ROC United has been fighting to raise $2.13 for many years and an increase is long overdue for the people who work hard every day to nourish our families at restaurants across America.”
As we noted earlier this week, the recent fight to raise the minimum wage has coincided with a new National Employment Law Project report, which notes that if minimum wage had kept up with inflation since 1968, it’d be at $10.88 per hour.