The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Madison Donzis,

New Polling Data Shows Four in Five Tipped Restaurant Workers Want a $15/Hour Federal Minimum Wage With Tips on Top

Over two-thirds of tipped workers in delaware, maine & new hampshire say they are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports a full minimum wage for tipped workers with tips on top.


The first representative survey of tipped restaurant workers, just put out by Lake Research Partners, in partnership with One Fair Wage and the National Employment Law Project (NELP), and UltraViolet, shows that four in five tipped restaurant workers in Maine, New Hampshire, Delaware, support One Fair Wage - increasing the federal minimum wage for tipped workers to $15 an hour with tips on top. Eighty percent of workers support the Raise the Wage Act with high intensity - with half (50%) strongly in favor.

The polling data comes after Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Angus King (I-ME) voted against the Raise the Wage Act, a major setback to one of President Biden's priority policy goals last month. The poll was conducted to respond to some of these senators' concerns about the bill's proposal to end the subminimum wage for tipped workers, which is a direct legacy of slavery and currently impacts a workforce of tipped workers that is over two thirds women and disproportionately women of color.

Ensuring that tipped workers have One Fair Wage for their work has never been more important and urgent than during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, recently, corporate chain restaurants admitted to their investors that ending the subminimum wage and raising the minimum wage is good for business -- especially in the wake of reports that the industry is suffering a labor crisis because of low wages, with workers reporting they will not go back to high-risk restaurant jobs without a living wage plus tips on top.

Support is strong among every demographic group and is among the highest ever seen compared to previous polls in other states. Over two-thirds of workers in each state said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supported raising the minimum wage for tipped workers to the full minimum wage for tipped workers with tips on top (70% across all three states), and roughly one-third said that they would be much more likely to vote for such a candidate (32% across all three states).

Earlier this month, nearly six million tipped workers and 14 million restaurant workers nationwide sent a letter to Congress pointing to "the backbreaking work" they do -- all while working in fear of losing already-reduced tips because they must enforce public health mandates. They argue that the federal subminimum wage of just $2.13 an hour keeps them dependent on the same customers on whom they must enforce these rules -- an impossible situation.

"The pandemic has made our hard jobs even harder. After most of us were not able to receive unemployment insurance because we were told our wages were too low, we had to go back to work before we felt safe. We found that our tips have gone down, while sexual harassment has gone up. And research has proven that sexual harassment and racial discrimination in the restaurant industry are a direct result of the subminimum wage. Yet we've heard that some United States Senators don't want to give us the same basic fair wage as all other Americans and want to cut us out of the Raise the Wage Act -- and keep this unfair, unjust legacy of slavery intact," the letter reads.


Over 140,000 workers have also sent petitions to Congress calling on members to pass the Raise the Wage Act, which would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and end the subminimum wage for tipped workers, and thanking those who have already voted in the legislation's favor.

One Fair Wage is a national organization of over 200,000 service workers, over 800 restaurant employers, and dozens of organizations nationwide all working together to end all subminimum wages in the United States and improve wages and working conditions in the service sector in particular.