Actually, it’s more like “fair” pay as, despite what right-wing pundits like us to believe, we are talking about the same pay for the exact same work and hours. And it is hard to prove as women can be dismissed from their jobs for even inquiring about the pay of their male colleagues.
It was in this spirit that the organization I work for, MomsRising.org, participated in an array of fair pay activities in D.C. last Tuesday. First stop? A rally in front of the National Restaurant Association to protest the fact that the federal tipped minimum wage has not changed in 21 years from $2.13 an hour.
The Restaurant Opportunities Center United is a grassroots organization with chapters across the country focused on improving the working conditions of the restaurant industry. I was struck by the number of volunteers — and its diversity in terms of age, race, ethnicity, language and parental status! — and the ability for them to bring all aspects of the food industry together. I saw farmworkers with limited English to single mothers and college students working in the restaurant industry.
Their energy was contagious, attracting passersby and drivers. They not only dressed up as wait staff and put together creative chants letting the public know that “$2.13 has gotta go!” they also did a flash mob on the song “Boys II Men”, which they called “Girls II Women.” Check it out! (Apologies in advance for the quality as it was taken on my iPhone.)