Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), the senior Democratic member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, led more than 100 other House Democrats in introducing legislation today to raise the minimum wage to $9.80. This would be the first increase in the minimum wage since 2009 and the first increase in the minimum wage for tipped-workers in 21 years.
Currently the federal minimum wage for covered nonexempt employees is $7.25 per hour.
Rep. Miller’s Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2012 (H.R. 6211) will increase the minimum wage in three 85-cent steps, over three years, from $7.25 to $9.80 per hour. The rate will then be indexed to inflation each year thereafter. In addition, the legislation will increase the required cash wage for tipped workers in annual 85 cent increases, from today’s $2.13 per hour until the tip credit reaches 70 percent of the regular minimum wage.
Saru Jayaraman, Co-Director of ROC United, commended Representative Miller, saying, “Miller’s bill represents the first initiative by House leadership that would include a much-needed increase for tipped workers in more than 15 years, and we cannot thank him enough. ROC United has been fighting to raise $2.13 for many years and an increase is long overdue for the people who work hard every day to nourish our families at restaurants across America. While the restaurant industry projects record profit in 2012 of $625 billion, our nation’s tipped workers — the servers, bussers, and bartenders at your favorite restaurants — have been earning $2.13 since 1991. The majority of these tipped workers are women, many living in poverty and supporting children, and they can no longer afford to be left behind.”
A number of organizations in addition to ROC United, such as the National Employment Law Project, MomsRising, National Women’s Law Center, 9 to 5, National Association of Working Women, and others have been leading the fight to raise the tipped minimum wage and the minimum wage.