Sign the petition: Reduce poverty among restaurant workers

The statistics pile on top of each other in creating the picture of just how badly workers in the restaurant industry, and women in particular, have it:

—The median wage for restaurant workers in 2010 was $9.02, meaning that well over half of these workers earned less than the wage of $10.75 that a family of four needs to remain out of poverty.

—Almost half of all workers making below minimum wage are restaurant workers; 19 percent of restaurant workers earn less than minimum wage.

—Five of the 10 lowest-paying jobs in the country are tipped restaurant jobs.

—Women are 52 percent of all restaurant workers, but 66 percent of all tipped workers in restaurants and 71 percent of servers. That means that women are far more likely to face the uncertainty and poverty of tipped work.

—The typical full-time, year-round female server is paid just 68 percent of what her male counterpart is paid ($17,000 vs. $25,000 annually). This disparity is in part because women are concentrated in the kinds of restaurants that pay less, while men are more likely to work in fine dining restaurants.

Both Congress and the Department of Labor can take action to reduce the disgraceful treatment of restaurant workers. Fill out the form on the right to add your name to the petition.

Secretary Hilda Solis, Senate Maj. Leader Harry Reid and Speaker John Boehner, please take immediate action to reduce poverty among restaurant workers:

—Eliminate the subminimum wage for tipped workers

—Institute "show-up" pay requirements, so that employers have a disincentive to call restaurant workers in and then send them home quickly.

—Enforce laws that are already in place, rather than letting employers get away with intimidating workers into accepting less than they are legally entitled to.
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