Labor & Business

One Fair Wage endorses local candidates committed to raising the minimum wage

“One Fair Wage Action has endorsed Senators Tiara Mack and Sam Bell, Representative David Morales, and candidate for House District 9 Enrique Sanchez,” said Providence resident Alex Morash, the national director of policy and communications for One Fair Wage. “One Fair Wage Action is also for the first time endorsing an entire slate of candidates running for office by endorsing the entire RI Political Cooperative slate.”
Photo for One Fair Wage endorses local candidates committed to raising the minimum wage

Published on August 26, 2022
By Steve Ahlquist

The political arm of One Fair Wage is endorsing in Rhode Island “because of the groundswell of public support for worker rights we are seeing in the Ocean State.” One Fair Wage is a national worker’s rights organization comprised of nearly 300,000 service workers, over 2000 restaurant employers, and dozens of organizations nationwide. The organization seeks “to end all subminimum wages in the United States and improve wages and working conditions in the service sector in particular.”

One Fair Wage Action is excited to announce our Rhode Island endorsements,” said Providence resident Alex Morash, the national director of policy and communications for One Fair Wage. “One Fair Wage Action has endorsed Senators Tiara Mack and Sam Bell, Representative David Morales, and candidate for House District 9 Enrique Sanchez. One Fair Wage Action is also for the first time endorsing an entire slate of candidates running for office by endorsing the entire RI Political Cooperative slate.

“The candidates endorsed are part of a growing movement inside Rhode Island of primarily working class peoples running for office to support their fellow workers, raise the minimum wage to $19 an hour and eliminate the subminimum wage,” continued Morash. “This movement is about ending business as usual and defending workers.”

“People who are working should be able to also live,” said Representative Brianna Henries (Democrat, District 64, East Providence). “I feel frustrated that we have to continue to have this conversation, that we have to continue to bring this up and that this continues to be the fight.

“There’s lots of myths about how [raising the minimum wage] can affect small businesses and what it would look like for our economy, but time and time again we’ve proven that this will be the lift that brings us all up together.”

“The fight or wage justice is the fight for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” said Senator Tiara Mack (Democrat, District 6, Providence). “All the people who are standing behind me are Black and brown candidates who know, and have the lived experience, of family members, friends and communities that have worked paycheck to paycheck and have not been able to make ends meet.

“If we are not fighting for workers we are not fighting to make sure that every single person and all of their identities are represented, uplifted, and care for.”

“The reality is that in the State of Rhode Island, as of 2022, the minimum wage is well below $13. It is $12 and some change. And if you are a tipped service worker, then your reality is that you have a sub minimum wage of less than $4,” said Representative David Morales (Democrat, District 7, Providence). “We are here to advocate for these working people who are forced to work for starvation wages…”

“Too many people who have grown up raised by a single mother on a fixed income, just like me, understand what it’s like to not know how they’re going to afford their next bill, how they’re going to be able to afford tuition, to send their children to a high quality education. That is my story,” said Harrison Tuttle, who is running for the open Senate District 31 seat in Warwick/Cranston. “The conversation is never had of how we make sure that every single person in the State of Rhode Island can have access to housing, healthcare, and sending their kids to a high quality education. The reality is that for many, they can’t.”

“You would have to make 25 bucks in order to afford a two-bedroom apartment in Rhode Island,” said Kinverly Dicupe, running for the House District 62 seat in Pawtucket. “Let’s talk about poverty. Poverty is manufactured. If we had enough good jobs for everyone, then no one would have to work a slave wage job where they’re not making enough to survive. We as a society… decided that we’re going to have a bunch of jobs that don’t pay enough. That means that no matter how hard you work, there’s always going to be a portion of your society that are poor.”

“I’d like to thank One Fair Wage for putting their trust in working class elected officials and candidates who are fighting hard, every day, for their communities across this state,” said Enrique Sanchez, running for the House District 9 seat in Providence. “Our city and our state have not prioritized protecting workers and increasing living wages…”

More from One Fair Wage:

  • The subminimum wage for tipped workers is a direct legacy of slavery, notes One Fair Wage. The subminimum wage is still just $3.89 an hour in the state of Rhode Island and affects a workforce of over 22,000 tipped workers that is 63% women and 26% people of color. Ending this low-wage carve out positively impacts an overall restaurant industry of nearly 44,000 workers in Rhode Island.
  • Tipped workers have struggled with twice the poverty rate of other workers and the highest rates of sexual harassment of any industry. This is a direct result of the subminimum wage because they must tolerate inappropriate customer behavior to feed their families in tips.
  • Nearly 28,000 restaurant workers in Rhode Island lost their jobs at the start of the pandemic. This happened at a time when 41% of workers nationwide reported they couldn’t access unemployment benefits because they were told their subminimum wage was too low to qualify for benefits.
  • The restaurant industry is fraught with wage violations: In the most recent compliance sweep (2010–2012) of nearly 9,000 full-service restaurants by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), 83.8% of investigated restaurants had some type of violation. In total, WHD recovered $56.8 million in back wages for nearly 82,000 workers and assessed $2.5 million in civil money penalties. Violations included 1,170 tip credit infractions that resulted in nearly $5.5 million in back wages. [Source EPI]
  • Nearly a million workers fled the restaurant industry in the aftermath of the pandemic. In December 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that 958,000 food and accommodation services workers left their positions, and that there will be about 41,400 openings for food service managers each year, on average, from 2020 to 2030.
  • Tipped workers continue to overwhelmingly support eliminating the subminimum wage. One Fair Wage has surveyed workers and conducted polling of workers. Every time, workers overwhelmingly respond that they support eliminating the subminimum wage and be paid at least the full minimum wage with tips on top. Of workers surveyed by One Fair Wage in the spring of 2022, 96% support One Fair Wage — a full minimum wage with tips on top! A majority of those that leave the industry say the only thing that will get them to return is a full fair wage with tips on top.

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