WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-12) reintroduced the Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights, in partnership with the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United. Through a comprehensive framework, the Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights addresses the challenges that restaurant workers face every day—the majority of whom are women, people of color, and immigrants.
The Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights recognizes:
- The right to thriving wages, including raising the tipped minimum wage to a full, livable wage. Restaurant workers deserve thriving wages plus tips.
- The right to healing and rest, including requiring paid family and medical leave.
- The right to a safe and dignified work environment, including enforceable federal workplace protections.
- The right to universal health care and bodily autonomy, including ensuring that all Americans have equal access to comprehensive, quality, and affordable health care.
- The right to democracy in their workplace, including protecting workers’ right to organize without fear of retaliation, and transparency around wages, tips, and policies.
“No one should have to worry about paying rent at the end of the month or making ends meet because they can’t rely on consistent tips and lack paid sick leave,” said Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. “Our restaurant workers simply want an opportunity to thrive—not just survive—and deserve a safe, dignified working environment. No worker should be exploited, retaliated against, or denied benefits, especially for organizing for better working conditions and a better quality of life. Access to health care should not be a privilege tied to your employment, but a basic human right.”
“As an essential part of our economy, it is past time that restaurant workers – who in their majority are women, immigrants, and people of color – receive the parity, the support, and the backing they deserve to thrive,” said Congresswoman Delia C. Ramirez. “In Illinois, we are clear that all workers, including restaurant workers, deserve fair wages, safe and dignified working conditions, universal health care, and democracy in their workplace. So, I am proud to stand by my friend, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, and restaurant work leaders as a co-sponsor of the Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights to ensure the federal government meets the state of Illinois and worker unions across our nation in our shared efforts to protect the humanity and safety of our workers.”
“Restaurant workers have been severely underpaid with a tipped minimum wage of $2.13 for over three decades,” said Congressman Jamaal Bowman Ed.D. “It’s time to treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve by guaranteeing fair pay, time off, a safe work environment, and healthcare. We must continue to build a strong and resilient economy by putting power in the hands of the workers and protecting their right to organize and advocate for themselves. I am proud to join my sister Rep. Tlaib in reintroducing this bill to ensure that every restaurant worker has stability, paid leave, and a living wage. When working class families are supported and empowered, we all do better.”
“Restaurant workers labor tirelessly to serve us our meals and help us celebrate the special moments in life. Yet they have often faced exploitation and hardship from some unscrupulous employers. These employees, the backbone of the hospitality industry, deserve more than just survival; they deserve to thrive. I’m proud to cosponsor the Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights which focuses on the principles of life, liberty, respect, dignity, family, and equal opportunities for ALL restaurant workers,” said Congressman Troy A. Carter, Sr.
“It is past time that restaurant workers, who are overwhelmingly women, immigrants, and people of color, have the resources they need to thrive in a secure and respectful workplace,” said Congressman Adriano Espaillat. “I am proud to support the Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights, which not only creates more opportunities for restaurant workers in the food service industry but also benefits businesses by creating a positive work environment, ensuring that customers receive better service. Every worker deserves the opportunity to succeed and reach their full potential.”
“For more than 20 years of our engagement with restaurant workers, we have heard loud and clear that the challenges, injustices, and discriminations have many forms and intersect many policies. This is why we came together to propose a comprehensive and systemic remedy in the form of the Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights,” said Dr. Sekou Siby, President and CEO of ROC United. “The ongoing system in our restaurant industry has been broken for decades, with millions of restaurant workers earning as low as $2.13 per hour since 1991— and no health insurance and paid leave benefits that protect them and their children or the promise of economic security in retirement. We must finally reform it in the most equitable and effective way that focuses on life, liberty, respect, dignity, family and opportunities for all restaurant workers, no matter what their race, skin color, or gender identity is.”
“Everyone should have a pathway to a healthy and happy career, and be able to support themselves and their families, and have equal access to greater opportunities within their chosen path in the restaurant industry. This helps restaurant workers achieve the quality of life that they deserve for themselves and their families. It also helps employers by building a happier, more loyal and more positive workplace as well as consumers who will have a better service experience. It’s time to pass the Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights. My great aunt Rosa McCauley Parks once said, ‘I’d like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free, so other people would also be free. I knew someone had to take the first step and I made up my mind not to move,’ which always showed me that every person, be they young or old, rich or poor, man or woman, Black or white can stand up for what is right and make a difference,” said Renee McCauley, restaurant worker and farm owner from Detroit, Michigan.
This legislation is cosponsored by Reps. Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Cori Bush (MO-01), Troy Carter (LA-02), Greg Casar (TX-35), Yvette Clarke (NY-09), Danny Davis (IL-07), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Chuy García (IL-04), Raul Grijalva (AZ-07), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Barbara Lee (CA-12), Jim McGovern (MA-02), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Delia Ramirez (IL-03), and Jan Schakowsky (IL-09).
This legislation is also endorsed by National Black Worker Center; Family Values @ Work; National Employment Law Project; East Biloxi Community Collaborative; Jobs to Move America; Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP); PowerSwitch Action; Catch Fire Movement; For All; MS Black Women’s Roundtable; Paid Leave for All Action; Steps Coalition; Main Street Alliance; National Immigration Law Center; Americans for Democratic Action (ADA); Shriver Center on Poverty Law; Oxfam America; A Better Balance; Jobs With Justice; Women Employed; Jobs to Move America; OPEIU; Equal Rights Advocates; Caring Across Generations; Philadelphia Unemployment Project; TRAIL; National Domestic Workers Alliance; HEAL Food Alliance; One Fair Wage; Food Chain Workers; Tompkins County (NY) Workers’ Center; National Partnership for Women & Families; National Council for Occupational Safety and Health; Compañeras Campesinas; Justice for Migrant Women; Alabama State Association of Cooperatives; Center for Economic and Policy Research; Workers’ Dignity Project; MS State Conference; Worker Justice Wisconsin; United for Respect; Restore Oakland; Chicago Food Policy Action Council; Worksafe; Street Level Health Project; Parent Voices California; Coalition on Human Needs; National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association; Human Impact Partners; Rural Coalition; Make the Road PA; Worker’s Justice Project; Astoria Worker Project; The Women and Girls Foundation; New Jersey Citizen Action; Women’s Law Project; California Work & Family Coalition; and Restaurant Workers United.
The full text of the legislation can be found here.