Reinventing Low-Wage Work

I participated today in a great event organized by the Aspen Institute on “Reinventing Low-Wage Work.”  The focus was on the restaurant industry (though my comments were about low-wage work more generally).

The featured speaker was Representative Donna Edwards, who discussed her bill –the WAGES Act– which would substantially raise the minimum wage that applies to tipped workers. The current minimum wage for tipped workers is just $2.13 an hour –where it has been stuck for the last 21 years. (The federal minimum wage for non-tipped workers is $7.25 per hour –way too low, but more than three times higher than what applies to tipped workers.)

I was on a panel, moderated by Peter Edelman, that followed Rep. Edwards’ remarks. The two other panelists were Andy Shallal, owner of Busboys & Poets, and Saru Jayaraman, co-founder of Restaurant Opportunity Centers United. Helen Neuborne of the Ford Foundation, one of the sponsors of the event, and Maureen Conway, of the Aspen Institute and the main organizer, also spoke.

You can watch the whole event here.

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