On the High-Road: Righting the Restaurant Industry

Episode 1 August 31, 2020 00:43:15
On the High-Road: Righting the Restaurant Industry
The California Table
On the High-Road: Righting the Restaurant Industry

Aug 31 2020 | 00:43:15

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Show Notes

California State Controller Betty Yee launches her new podcast, The California Table — a new monthly series featuring community voices often missing at institutional policy or funding decision-making tables.

Yee's debut podcast episode “On the High-Road: Righting the Restaurant Industry" features a must-hear discussion with Saru Jayaraman, President of One Fair Wage, Co-Founder of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United), and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. Jayaraman, an outspoken leader in exposing the vulnerability of restaurant workers — pre- and post-COVID-19 — joins Betty to discuss the history of tipped-wage work and reimagining the restaurant industry as it emerges from the economic devastation of the pandemic.

The California Table airs the first Monday of each month and features Californians making a difference by tackling difficult issues with individual and collective action.

Paid for by Betty Yee for Treasurer 2026 (FPPC ID #1417532).

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:03 <inaudible> Speaker 1 00:00:12 Welcome to the California table. I'm Betty G. We will be meeting people from our diverse regions of California or creating their own tables to tackle some of the most pressing issues of our time. Community voices gathering, coming together to speak up for themselves, to take charge of their own lives, to fight for themselves. This is the California table. Recently. I had a dream about restaurants, but they look different than the ones we have known in my dream. Each restaurant was a series of homes that opened up to people, gathering and eating inside dining rooms, as well as out in patios and yards, everything was shared. The kitchens, the gathering and sitting areas, the ships, the servers, and the dishwashers. I distinctly remembered guests being greeted upon arrival and invited to gather and sit. Or there may be room, no reservations, no booths, no private rooms. I remember the menu board, a single menu board for all guests that featured a variety of breads soups sweets from different cuisines, a menu board that had no prices. The stream left me when I woke up with a lingering, overwhelming feeling of community and the image in my mind's eye of the diversity of guests, taking me to thoughts of new possibilities for restaurants post COVID-19. Speaker 1 00:01:40 The restaurant industry is in trouble in California, 900,000 restaurant workers and already lost their jobs. And even more could when federal relief funds run out workers across our state who were going on strike this morning, they're demanding stricter coronavirus safety measures as well. Protest come after a second employee at a McDonald's location on Crenshaw tested positive for coronavirus looks cashiers, walk off the job. When was the last time you dine in a restaurant likely for many of us, it was before the global coronavirus pandemic street. After street and city after city restaurant establishments have shuttered with some papering over their windows. As the promising that they will be reopening again soon, that's a public health imperative for restaurants to keep their workers and customers say has led to reopenings and said since starts, but before the pandemic and recession, the restaurant industry threatened the livelihoods of its workers with substandard pay and working conditions. Joining me is sorrow dye, ramen, president of one fair wage who has been shining the spotlight on the vulnerability of restaurant workers. Speaker 2 00:03:00 Welcome, sorry. So when we talk about restaurant workers, who are we talking about? Are they the host stuff and late stuff what's going to interact with customers? Are they the bus people, but dishwashers the cooks, the flavor above who we're including when we talked about restaurant workers, Speaker 3 00:03:17 But all of those people, anybody who cooks, serves, delivers prepares brings the food to the table, greets you in the front of the restaurant, uh, takes your order, brings you the bread or the chip, um, cleans your table, brings you your drink, survey your drink at the, at the bar. Or if you're in a counter service restaurant stands at the counter and takes your order, give you your coffee. It's all of those folks. And all of those folks make up the second largest and absolute fastest growing sector of both the us and the California economy. That's 13.6 million workers prior to the pandemic nationally. And 1.7 million workers of that 13.6. So almost 2 million out of 14 million, one seventh of the entire national restaurant industry right here in California. Speaker 2 00:04:06 No, it is a definitely a big industry here. So when, when we talk about based restaurant workers, um, it's obviously everyone who has anything to do with the operation and success of the establishment. Uh, are there differences in terms of how they're treated? Um, obviously as a customer, I see certain, uh, staff of a restaurant that others, we don't see that how, how are they treated? Are they Speaker 3 00:04:25 No. And the first thing to note is that as a whole, that one point a population of 1.7 million workers is actually among the lowest paid workforces in the state of California. So that, so before we even get into differences among them, it's important to note that when you have the largest and fastest growing industry in California being the lowest paid, that's not bad for those workers. It's bad for our state economy and our national economy. It's the largest and fastest growing industry though. The lowest paid, I mean, longterm, what does that do to our GDP, to our ability to sustainable? Exactly. So, and of course we thought we're seeing that right now. We have seen the effects of the largest workforce being unable to take care of itself in a crisis, but even among those workers, absolutely there is severe differences and unfortunately race and gender plays a big role in who gets into which job, first of all, the industry segregated by segment. Speaker 3 00:05:21 So you've got a, what we call quick serve, or that's all the fast food restaurants or anybody without a weight, or, you know, very low end restaurants that some might say some are nicer, like the Panera's and the cozy, but they're all a minimum wage job. And then you've got casual restaurants, but I have the Denny's the, Applebee's all the ethnic restaurants where yes, there are servers, but you don't make a lot of money in tips. Um, and then there are the fine dining restaurants. And, and I think sometimes the, maybe the people who listen to a podcast like this or read the San Francisco Chronicle, they tend to eat in nicer restaurants and in their mind, those are the restaurants that exist when in fact fine dining restaurants are a sliver of the overall industry workers in the industry, work in casual restaurants or fast food or quick serve best with them. Speaker 3 00:06:13 Majority of workers work, and they are the lowest paid workers in America and in California. And what's really bad is that workers of color are heavily and strictly segregated into the more casual restaurants, both fast food and the casual, full service restaurants that I have. The Denny's the ethnic restaurants, they get into fine dining there. And what we call the back of the house, the kitchen, or if they're in the front of the house, they're bussers and runners, they're not servers and bartenders who often make five times what a busser or runner can make quoted in a recent Forbes article stating black women are nearly $5 an hour, less than white men, according to national surveys and close to $8 an hour, less in New York, they're putting themselves at greater risk. And when they go back to work, they earn much less. It's a huge, huge differentials. And sadly in our research, we saw that the Bay area was among the worst in terms of having the highest race, wage gap between workers of color and white workers of any region in the United States. Um, even though we have higher wages in the state of California, our level of occupational segregation is shameful. That's the greatest. Speaker 2 00:07:24 Yeah. So, um, speak a little bit about the skills, because I think, um, you know, there's a, Speaker 3 00:07:32 These are low skilled jobs I'm yeah. Speaker 2 00:07:34 It seems like these are the same skills regardless, you know, of, uh, you know, Speaker 3 00:07:39 Right. And so glad you asked that because, um, we don't call them low skill. We call them low wage jobs for high skilled workers, because I challenge anybody listening to, you know, exactly. And I'm sure many listeners did do those jobs in their youth, but, um, to really make a career in this industry, tough, uh, it does require a lot of skill and a lot of perseverance and a lot of willingness to persist. Um, you know, in the kitchen, there's a scale in cooking of course, and preparing, there's also a scale in cleaning. There's also scale in, um, in busing tables. There's also a scale in, in serving customers, taking orders, anticipating needs, knowing wine tasking, knowing the cocktails. I mean, just at every level of the restaurant, it requires math. It requires, uh, customer service skills. It requires, uh, again, anticipating customer needs and it requires time management. Speaker 3 00:08:40 It requires a lot of independent thinking to figure out how to do things efficiently and effectively. And that's why employers who do it right. Who really, who are really invested in what we call the high road to profitability. They tell us, look taking the high road, meaning higher wages and better benefits. It actually, isn't just about doing the right thing. It's actually about the bottom line, because, because these are high skilled, high touch jobs, the better you pay people, the better you treat people, the better service you're going to be able to provide the more your customers are going to come back. Speaker 2 00:09:13 Absolutely, absolutely. So you are the president of one fair wage, which is the national coalition working can sure. Every person that works in America is paid a full, fair minimum wage from their employer. So why is this an issue when we actually have federal and state minimum wage laws on the books? Speaker 3 00:09:32 It's a, it's such a crazy situation. Um, and it's historical, it's important to understand the history of this issue. So, um, in our industry, uh, this history based back to feudal times, actually in feudal Europe is where tipping first originated. Um, it's, you know, risky crap. The Nobles wanted to get an extra or a bonus to surf or vessel. They gave a kit as an extra or bone is always on top of a wage. That idea of tipping came to the United States around the 1860s, practically. Nobody has written about the huge strike of waiters across the United States who are mostly men at the time in 1850 and across the country, employers replaced them with women. They S gap basically to when, when men went on strike, the industry, replaced them with women. So the industry became feminized in 1850s and then 1865, of course emancipation happened and the restaurant lobby wanted the right to hire newly freed slaves, mostly still women. So they hired black women, but they didn't want to pay them. And instead of tips saying as an extra bonus, as they were intended to be tips became a replacement for the wage. Speaker 2 00:10:46 So it really became institutionalized back then and Speaker 3 00:10:49 Legacy of slavery, a legacy of Jim Crow. Um, and then that became law in 1938 as part of the new deal. Everybody got the right to the minimum wage, supposedly, except for groups of black workers, farm workers, domestic workers, and tipped restaurant workers who are given a $0 wage, as long as tips brought them to the full minimum wage. And we went from zero in 1938 to $2 and 13 cents an hour, which is the current federal minimum wage for tipped workers. 43 States persist with the sub minimum wage for tipped workers. Now, California does now have a full minimum wage for tipped workers. So we are better in that way than 43 other States, but we still have a sub minimum wage for workers with disabilities. We still have to come in and wait in California for incarcerated workers and those other seven minimum wages for workers in California, all STEM back to the restaurant industry, which was the first industry to establish a sub minimum wage. Speaker 3 00:11:41 And you may know this, I'm sure people have seen the recent losses against Uber and other gay couples. Many of those companies have attempted to replicate in California what the restaurant industry did and other States terms of having a sub minimum wage Jordache for a very long time, was trying to cut its work delivery workers payments by how much they got hit. And that's the same idea comes from the restaurant industry. So people have to know this all stems from the restaurant industry and it all stems from slavery. And that's why it's a time to stand up to the murder of George Wood. I hope Americans are saying that to end all legacies of slavery and occupational segregation in our industry, the racial inequality and gender inequality and the wage and the reliance on tips even here in California, all stems back to those bad, bad history. Speaker 4 00:12:30 Right? Right. So restaurant workers, gig workers, um, other service industries too. Yes. Speaker 3 00:12:36 Nail salon carwash. Um, yes. In other States, restaurant nail salon, carwash, uh, airport attendance, parking attendance, hair, salon workers, all of those tipped workers can be paid a sub minimum wage. And thankfully we did get rid of that here. But as I said, other in other sectors like incarcerated and disabled and they still have it and we need to get rid of it. Speaker 4 00:13:02 Absolutely. So what happens there must be just rampant wage theft that now employers not stepping up and paying Speaker 3 00:13:09 Our industry, even in California, has the highest levels of wage theft of any industry. I've talked over the years to people at the us department of labor who said multiple times, industry's notorious. Of course the restaurant industry has the highest rates of wage theft of any industry in the United States because pips create this very messy problem. You know, it's very hard to, to know how much people are actually making in pits. And that's not just the worker's fault, by the way, people always blame workers for underreporting. Their employers don't report the kids. You know, they don't bother to count the tips or report sickness as part of income. They don't want to pay taxes on those tips. They don't want to be liable. So, um, that's right. It's a very messy system. And when you live off of kids, even in California, when you get a wage of 15, which we all know is not enough to live on pretty much anywhere in California, right. Speaker 3 00:14:03 Pits are an essential bonus on top of that to get you somewhere near livability, but not, not steady, not stable. They go up and down. They're still responsible for our industry, having the highest rates of sexual harassment of any industry. And we actually released a report black women's equal payday August 13th and showed how there's so much bias in customer keeping customers are. So have a lot of what we call implicit bias. You know, we don't know it. Um, all of us have bias in our heads. And as a result, invariably research shows across the board, no matter how great a server of color might be in particularly women of color, they're always going to be pitless bonafide their white male counterparts, even when they're in fine dining, even when they're right next to a table with white guy, they're always going to earn there. Speaker 2 00:14:53 So you really see this in action and, uh, just the biases conscious or unconscious that work, uh, with respect to tipping. Yeah. So I'm, I'm just doing a back of the envelope calculation. So the $2 and 13 cents, uh, that the tip minimum wage, and this is paid for employees that are actually receiving, what is it? $30 in tips or so, so how does anyone live on this? I'm thinking if the employer doesn't step up, uh, if we don't, um, you know, really make the tip minimum wage the same as our statement of the wage, the employer doesn't fill that gap. And it's an, if a worker it's just making the $2 and 13 cents of the, and that amount of tip, but we're talking about less than $400 a month. Speaker 3 00:15:38 Yeah. And imagine now, Betty, imagine now tips are down 55% across the country here in California. So workers are being told you will even here in California, sadly, you will lose your benefits. If you don't take any job that comes your way and work with there things you're making me go back for $2, $3 or even 10, 11, 12 in California. When tips are down that 75%, you're telling me I have to risk my life to go back for a minimum wage when there are no tips, um, it's just a circular untenable tenable. And, uh, I don't think people realize, I really don't think people realize the scale or the severity of what we're talking about right now. Like this is created, um, home insecurity and economic insecurity of the highest proportion before the pandemic. Now we're talking about literally millions of workers writing to us at my organization saying I don't have money for gas to get to the food bank. There's no public transportation. When I get to the food bank, all they're offering is red and maple syrup. I'm not going to feed that to my child day after day. You know, we've had people sending us their electricity bill saying, we don't know how much longer we can be in touch with you because our Internet's going to go. And you're talking about in California, 1.7 million workers, 13 million workers, nationally that are about to be homeless, starving. I just don't think people understand what's about to happen. Speaker 2 00:17:09 So glad you raised us because it is shameful. They serve, these are workers who are in the food industry sector of our economy that obviously has been, um, just so affected by this pandemic and the recession. And yet they're on the front lines of, uh, experiencing food insecurity and, uh, also living. And, uh, so w when I think about this, I, I think about them. Um, what's happened with all of those, uh, assistance and aid and relief. That's been coming down to California from Washington. Um, do you have any sense of how helpful programs like the paycheck protection program has done for restaurant establishments to actually keep their workers on payroll? It's been Speaker 3 00:17:50 A really, really, really hard. Um, first of all, let's talk about unemployment insurance. Unemployment insurance was such a mess. Um, you know, they just didn't have the, the setup to really process the amount of workers, but it's not, I don't, I mean, Julie, she's amazing in California. I don't blame necessarily the people running an unemployment insurance, you know, I it's, there's just so much set up this way in the same way. In the thirties, they excluded tipped workers from the overall minimum wage. At that time, they created unemployment insurance with the intention of forcing workers to take any low wage job that came their way. And so there was kind of built into the system, uh, and intent to deny and intends, to deny meaning we want to make sure it's really hard to get benefits so that people will not use it. It's the Republicans logic right now. Speaker 3 00:18:48 We don't want to give them benefits of 600, cause they may not go back to work well, well then why aren't you paying them more than $600? Every time I hear that, I think $600 is $30,000 a year. I challenge any of those Republicans live on 30,000 anywhere, anywhere, anywhere. Yeah. So unemployment insurance was set up to sale was set up to deny people. So you've got people without benefits. Then their bosses get PPP when their bosses, they weren't ready to reopen, but they needed to somehow survive. So they took the PPP. The PPP requires them to hire people immediately, or that low, that forgivable loan turns into a real loan. And so they brought people back without being ready. And the workers are saying again, you're making me come back. I lose my benefits because you're offering me the job, but you're making me come back often for a very low wage with no tips, risk my life risk my children's life because of exposure, Speaker 5 00:19:49 Not even certainty and hours to be worked. Yeah, Speaker 3 00:19:51 No certainty, you know, no protocols, no safety protocols, just not ready. And so the system was a mess. I mean, PPP was necessary to save a lot of businesses, but the way it was done was a mess, a mess. And then you had, of course, the fact that all the chains and the larger businesses had a much easier time accessing what was supposed to be first of businesses. And so many small businesses rejected because they just didn't have the relationship with the banks that were processing the PTP that's guys did that. I got to say, though, they always crisis creates opportunity because that horrible way that PPP was set up finally drove away between the big chains in the national restaurant association and the California restaurant association and independent restaurants who ended up forming dozens and dozens and dozens of independent restaurants, associations around the country that have been more open to progressive and high road. Speaker 3 00:20:47 You know, the first time in my 20 years of organizing in the restaurant industry, that I've seen a willingness at independent restaurants to step away from the California restaurant association, half the restaurants that patients take, they are not eating for us. And we want to have our own boy so positive because when you said a few minutes ago, this is shameful. How could this happen? The truth is it happens because of the shameful power and influence of the national restaurant association, the California restaurant association. It was long overdue for independent restaurants to say, you know what, our survival live more with the health of our workers and communities. And it does. Right, right. So really very focused, very worker centered. It's very focused on the workers. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:21:34 Coming up Speaker 3 00:21:47 The independent restaurant coalition. And that's been really just wonderful to see across the country. How so many of our restaurant owners are stepping up to really do their own habits to say, unfortunately for emergency relief, but how do we not have, um, how do we not have the freeway fall back into the trap of what that established in the 1930s? So the minimum wage didn't work for everyone. Uh, we have unemployment that, uh, is a program that was full of hurdles in terms of the who could access it. So both of those programs essentially a failed. Um, so what's the independent restaurant coalition seeking that really will be helpful. I mean, there are dozens of independent restaurant associations. Not all of them are on the same page, but I will say there are several national and local around the country that have been talking to us and working with us and saying, actually we just need to reimagine the whole thing. Speaker 3 00:22:40 We need to reimagine the restaurant industry from scratch, how we serve people, who we serve the segregation in the industry, not just the worker, segregation's also the customer segregation and the wages and the way we pay people and the way we treat people and the way we value people and the equity between front and back, all of those things are being reexamined. And so what's so hopeful for me is the willingness to wholesale rethink this. And in some cases, advocate with us for policy change. Sure, sure. Well, long overdue and I hope that is the case. Do you think the, um, in this era of the pandemic and how businesses have had to operate, uh, does this allow for a little bit more creativity and flexibility about what restaurants can look like and we'll talk, and we'll talk more about, um, just some of the things that are specifically involved with the, the things to me of, um, you know, certainly people at the end, um, sheltering in place, it's been more focused on eating at home with some of the early parts of the pandemic. And now as, um, still people are really feeling like they really missed this experience. So, um, what, what are the hobbies, Speaker 2 00:23:49 Just, you know, what that experience is and what should it be in terms of how it gets recreated? That really focuses on the wellbeing of our workers. Speaker 3 00:23:56 So we actually did this, um, partnered meeting with Institute for the future and the James Beard foundation and about 30 restaurant owners from around the country, because we examined three aspects of the industry. One is the fact that there's such low wages and in particular, some people get tips. Some people, bill is some minimum wage for tips workers. You know, that was one thing we wanted to flip on its head and reimagine. Another thing we wanted to flip on its head and be imagined is the fact that most customers have no idea about the true cost of food or the finances of a restaurant, right? And so we pay tips thinking that they're an extra bonus or, you know, something I whim kind of, you know, not knowing that this actually is, um, the labor costs, we're paying the labor cost of the truth. And so how could we actually educate customers about the true cost of a meal, um, and encourage people to think differently about what they're willing to pay, um, in terms of the true cost of a meal. Speaker 3 00:24:55 That was the second thing we talked about. And the third thing we wanted to flip on its head is this idea that you can only be profitable if you're dining floors full, every aspect of that sentence we, we thought from you have to all be in the dining floor. Can you be providing meals at home catering in the street? Exactly. Exactly. Can you serve all day? Can you enter, can serve different times, hell for really fancy restaurants, could many fancy restaurants are working with us now on feeding programs. Could you imagine people in need actually eating at your restaurant a lot of side or next table as somebody, some person, you know, um, the possibilities are really endless the possibility for the restaurant industry to live into its true potential of being a place where people come together and that old saying break bread, that people of different races and classes, genders, backgrounds could actually come and break bread. Um, hasn't been realized by this industry because of the segregation, but that is part of the re-imagining, Speaker 2 00:26:01 Uh, exciting actually to think about. So I'm, I'm, uh, I'm thrilled to know that, uh, there's some thoughts going into that now and, uh, we're in prices, but also as you say, uh, where the opportunities are, you've been really a leading voice for, uh, you know, calling for this reset in the restaurant industry, uh, especially during those COVID-19 pandemic. And, and I think the choice that I've heard you speak about, um, it's really the stark choice that we, uh, have to say. So that is, uh, well, our restaurant workers add to the ranks of those living at, or below poverty, or will there be a path for them to, um, move forward and really according to the dignity that these workers, uh, rightly deserve. Um, and I guess before you respond to that choice, I do really want you to delve the, uh, the high road's kitchen project, because to me, um, you know, we've talked about just, um, kind of the untenable circular system that really works against workers that, uh, with the Tyro kitchens project, which I just find so inspiring on so many different levels, they're taking this entire ecosystem of, you know, a restaurant kitchen and just doing some phenomenal things with it. Speaker 2 00:27:04 But top talk about that first, Speaker 3 00:27:06 Um, it kind of goes back to what you were saying earlier about how maybe we didn't do minimum wage, right. To begin with. Maybe we didn't do unemployment insurance right. To begin with. And certainly right now we're not doing relief, right. In other words, relief right now is still, you know, focused. You still have the change and larger businesses getting more. Um, and there's no conditions on the relief for employers of any kind it's blanket relief. It's not like there are any worker protections or an incentive to do things differently. Speaker 2 00:27:40 It's really, whoever has the best capability of access again, because of the relationships are first in line. Speaker 3 00:27:46 And so we wanted to model what it looks like to do relief in a way shape relief in a way that shapes the future. How could you design relief in a way that's not just about the immediate moment and getting us back to where we were, because frankly, where we were didn't work, how do you provide relief in a way that incentivizes change? And that's what hybrid kitchens was about. It was a, it was a program with governor Newsome and secretary of labor to where we were able to raise private philanthropy and public dollars public workforce monies to provide grants, to restaurants that commit to going through our equity program. We provide training to restaurant owners on how to increase race and gender equity, how to desegregate their restaurants, how to introduce antisexual harassment programs, anti-racism programs. Um, and so they have to commit to going through that program, increased commit to increasing equity and wages also commit to providing 500 free meals. Speaker 3 00:28:43 And so it's a win, win, win. It provided grants that saved a lot of small businesses, especially businesses owned by people of color who maybe didn't have access to some of the other programs, but it also did. So in a way that incentivize change increase equity increase wages, and also did so in a way that had the restaurant owners actually providing free meals. And we set it up as a pay as you go model. In other words, you, as a customer with any of these restaurants that were chosen to choose to pay nothing, because you're getting a free meal or you could choose to pay $20 and subsidized three other people's three meals. Wonderful. So that allowed, so one of the restaurants in San Diego that started the program started with a commitment of 500 free meals. And now it's surpassed 3000 free meals as a result of the customers of the restaurant, the regulars wanting to pay for other people's, you know, a phenomenal, phenomenal, no, sorry. I just want to say and now, uh, California was so successful there to Blasio replicated in New York city with a much larger program. Now mayor Duggan and the Kellogg foundation are doing in Detroit and we're doing it in Massachusetts. So we started something here in California that was about again, showing how relief could look different, um, and then doing it elsewhere. And by the way, we created a relief fund for workers too. That was also about shaping the future. So we can, I can tell you more about that if you're interest, Speaker 2 00:30:06 Because this has to work for the workers. I mean, if we've learned anything from this pandemic, it is, and particularly here in California, just how much of our economy really is reliant on a foundation of service workers that really, uh, elevate the success of so many other sectors. And so when you think about, you know, where that relief needs to be directed, that is going to help recreate a foundation. That just seems to make sense that, that talk a little bit about that. I think that's yeah, Speaker 3 00:30:34 Yeah. I can, like, there were so many relief programs said, okay. And most of them, and our two were, were one time release. So it was like, you know, providing cash assistance to low wage workers who had lost their jobs. And I, you know, we started the fund on March 16th, about $23 million came in pretty quickly. We were pretty overwhelmed by people's generosity, but it, you know, it was a drop in the bucket drop 30,000 workers applied in California, 200,000 applied nationally. We've only been able to fund about 50,000 of the 200,000 and even that with one time payments. But the thing that was really important to us as an organization seeking longterm structural change, not just again, providing the fish, but teaching how to bake for us. It was about providing relief to workers that brought them into a community and then organizing them to vote, organizing them, to mobilize, organizing them to speak up for change. Speaker 3 00:31:29 And so, um, I did want to, I mean, California, we have 30,000 workers and we're mobilizing people for change, but we're also doing this in some of the key battleground States that are gonna really make a difference for the November election. We had 30,000 workers apply to the fund from Florida. Florida is a really key state for November. And all of those workers that came to us for money are now working with us to get their peers in the restaurant industry out to vote. And that's big because our industry has a less than 20% voter turnout rate. We know from experience that when you talk about the issues that matter most to restaurant workers, which is their wages to their lowest wage workforce, and when you have them talk to each other about voting, rather than saying, Oh, you should vote as an outsider. So waitress talking to a waitress that's right. That, that has been so effective. We're doing it in Florida. We're doing in Michigan and Pennsylvania, all battleground States where we'd have thousands of workers who come to us for relief and every dollar that we are raising for relief really count twice, just one getting immediate relief and to organizing these workers to vote. Speaker 2 00:32:34 That's wonderful. That's wonderful. I think building that community power is so important for how going to get sustaining Speaker 3 00:32:40 Lasting change. And, you know, we always talk about how voters is up, both our pocketbook. And yet when you look up these workers and how, how much they have to juggle to really make their moods their days, I just think of the motivation is going to be so strong when we organize them. So that's wonderful, wonderful work. Speaker 3 00:33:11 I know since the pandemic frequenting a couple of my favorite restaurants, certainly for the wonderful sustenance, but also just to support local businesses that are so vital to my community. We know nationally 40% of independent restaurants are owned by immigrants. These businesses represents the fulfillment of the American dream. I also know the long game, many have to return to the days of normal public health directives to physically distance, and we're a mess or lifted. So we want to go back to the normal as it relates to the restaurant industry and the workers we've known. Absolutely. Can I just say one thing for us about going back to normal as he was talking about, maybe this would help for people to think about this when Trump was elected, a lot of people were dismayed in America to find that so many Americans bought into this notion of make America great. Speaker 3 00:34:03 Again, we all know really code for let's return to an era in which white supremacy, reigned Supreme. There was no make America white again, right? A lot of people were horrified by the notion that what's great to some we know with horrible for a lot. So I would just say for people who love to eat out, and we as Americans, we eat out more than anybody else on earth. We actually made world history a few years ago becoming the first nation on earth and really the only nation on earth in which we spend more money on food, even outside of the home than we do on food outside of the home. Um, we celebrate our culture in restaurants in a way that nobody else on earth does people celebrate at home birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, there's nobody at home. They don't do it in restaurants. We do it in restaurants. Speaker 3 00:34:52 The restaurant for us is the Plaza of Latin America or, or of Europe. We, this is the gathering spot. And yet for those people who are missing that like yearning for that path, I would just say, there's a disconnect in the same way. There's a disconnect where the Trump, who yearn for the path in which people of color and immigrants where were, were lesser than there is a yearning for the past among foodies, which I understand cause I miss going to restaurants too, but a yearning for a path that didn't work. He didn't work for millions of people who are cooking and serving and preparing our food. Um, so I would just ask you to compare that idea of going back to, so the idea of make America great again, because it's the same idea. Let's go back to a time when things worked for me, not for you though. Speaker 3 00:35:45 Having said that there is such hope on the horizon that we're not going to go back to that path. So we are going to go as our investee really said through the portal into something entirely new. And that portal for me, I'm already seeing, because we have been approached by so many hundreds of restaurant owners with the pandemic and after George Floyd's murder saying to us, I really want to change. I want to learn how to move to a higher wage model. I want to learn how to move, to increase equity. I have been so touched and moved by the number of restaurant owners, many of whom, by the way, FADA in the past bought us against increased wages were public about their opposition are now saying, yes, actually need to change. This is the time to change. Now it is. I mean, just yesterday, I got an email from an employer that was very vocal in their opposition. Speaker 3 00:36:38 A leading employers have said, they're now transitioning to a higher livable wage. It's a moment of real transformation. It's sad that it took this kind of a crisis, but I think employers saw the independent restaurants. So workers in their communities devastated. They knew that hips are down. And so they realized they can't bring people back for the very low wages. They have to pay more, but a lot of people were genuinely moved by the national uprising for racial equity to say, well, what is the equity solution in our industry? And it really is paying a livable wage and desegregating our issue racially, like really being willing to put people of color in the front of the house inside dining, allow them to move up ladders in a way that just hasn't happened. Speaker 2 00:37:25 Yes, that's very promising, very promising at a Parkway here. Um, um, much more frequently now what time, which is also probably where, um, you feel so many of these workers really are like family or, um, for the owners and you know, how to, um, you know, really provide for them. And, and there's wonderful, inspiring stories that we hear from time to time the, uh, restaurant owners giving up their retirement savings to be able to still provide for their, for their workers. And, and you know, you look at all of this and, and I hope this is a moment where as we're rethinking the industry, as we're rethinking how we, uh, create, um, you know, policies now that finally right, uh, know, uh, the support that workers need. We're seeing a convergence of some very, very critical elements of what to be really successful. So sorrow, uh, I'm a customer of my restaurants that I love to frequent. And how can I, along with other consumers, lift up restaurant workers, are there key policy changes to which we can lend our advocacy? Speaker 3 00:38:25 I would say three things. One is that you can, every time you eat out, you can raise your voice as a consumer. So you can go to the high risk patients.com website in California and see which restaurants are part of high rotations and support those restaurants. But if it's not a huge list, it's like 50 restaurants statewide. So what we, more importantly, what we need you to do is actually every time you order out, or if you're doing outdoor dining, communicate with the employer, with the manager, not the server, Hey, I love eating here. I really liked the food. I'd love to see you become a high road restaurant, be a part of high road kitchen. So I want to put you in touch with this organization that can help you change to a more equitable systems. Um, and so that really makes a difference. Speaker 3 00:39:10 That really makes a difference. If consumers can communicate their values in that way, rather than owners that's one, two is that every consumer is a resident of this country has a representative. Even if you don't vote, you have a representative, you can speak up, you can demand change. Um, you know, California has lots of Congress members and senators, uh, this, if the Senate flips in November to a blue Senate, which it very well might, $15 is going to be on the table in the Senate. It already passed in the house. Once there are ways that the full minimum wage, the Senate and I were very worried that Senate Democrats, if it's controlled by Democrats will pass the team, but we'll lead out the tipped workers because that's, what's happened year after, year in state, after state. And so we need to tell our senators, um, now Dianne Feinstein, and now we're going to have a different Senator. Speaker 3 00:40:00 Cause I sent her becoming the vice president. Um, we need to tell our senators. We expect to see them, see what California has done and stand by a full livable minimum wage for six months. There's not part of those tips workers out. So we need to communicate to our federal legislators that this has got to change at the federal level, full, livable, minimum wage once a week for everybody. And the third thing is that you can get involved. Um, we need volunteers to call the 200,000 workers who applied to us for release and get them that relief, but then engage them in voting, engage them in organizing and power building. So you can go to winter wage.com. You can check out our emergency fund website, Oh, SW emergency fund, that orders. And on that emergency fund website, you can click, volunteer and sign up as a volunteer or sign up to donate. And as I mentioned, when you donate, you can actually, your donation goes stuff because it's about providing immediate relief to these workers. And at the same time organizing them, Speaker 2 00:41:01 That's fantastic to really wonderful concrete ideas again, uh, just, um, I want to just emphasize how, you know, we as consumers really have a lot of power and, um, you've just given us some wonderful concrete ideas because you know what I mean, the fact is I think nearly every one of us know someone who's a restaurant worker, whether a family member or a neighbor, um, we certainly know them as customers. And so I think, uh, when we know about, um, their, their skilled work, what's their hard work, which is a major factor in terms of the dining experience we to enjoy. Um, I think, uh, the, the least we can do is just to, uh, express our support for them and to do our part, to bring dignity to somebody who are serving us. And so it's our roots that ramen, I just want to thank you as an of one fair wage, the important conversation today, and for your critical work and leadership. Speaker 2 00:41:51 This is not an issue that's going to go away. And I hope that when we are really on the other side of this pandemic, we are just seeing all kinds of creative, imaginative ideas that really is going to restore finally addicted to these workers that have done nothing for so long and most importantly, to ensure that they can see a path forward where they can drive and just be full participants in our society and economy. So thank you very much for being here. Thank you for your leadership in the state. We so appreciate having you a champion of workers, state level. Speaker 6 00:42:24 We've heard about ways to support restaurant workers. Does it high road, hitchens.com for a list of participating restaurants admitted to supporting restaurant workers, healthcare, first responders and others in the shoe donate or volunteer to elevate the voices of restaurant workers learn about the one fair wage emergency fund by visiting O F w emergency fund.org. This is a steady gig saying so long until the next step is so of the California case.

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