NYS Legislators, Experts, Workers’ Rights Advocates Call on Gov. Cuomo to Address Trump Revocation of Federal Protections for Tipped Workers and Announce New Tipped Worker Polling Data

For immediate release: December 11, 2019

Contact: comms.onefairwage@gmail.com


Polling by New, Expanded One Fair Wage Coalition Shows Overwhelming Majority of NYS Tipped Workers Want One Fair Wage On Second Anniversary of Gov. Cuomo’s Call for One Fair Wage in NY State

NEW YORK – On Thursday, December 12, 2019, New York State legislators will join Patricia Smith, Solicitor General to the US Department of Labor under President Obama and the newly expanded One Fair Wage coalition, along with tipped workers, employers, attorneys, and experts in condemning the proposed regulatory changes by President Trump’s US Department of Labor that would revoke the most critical federal protections for tipped workers. These protections include the rule that requires employers to ensure that tipped workers are spending 80% of their time interacting with customers in order to be paid the subminimum wage. Even though some of these protections exist in New York State law, President Trump’s regulatory changes would revoke most federal protections for tipped workers and avenues for them to reclaim their rights.

NY State Legislators will join workers and the coalition who are calling for Governor Cuomo to enact One Fair Wage – a full minimum wage for tipped workers with tips on top – as the most effective way to protect tipped workers’ rights in response to President Trump’s proposed tipped workers’ rights revocations. The newly expanded One Fair Wage coalition will be releasing new polling data conducted by Lake Research Associates on Thursday showing that an overwhelming majority of NYS tipped workers want One Fair Wage.

The press event on Thursday comes on the eve of the two-year anniversary of Governor Cuomo’s declaration that he would take steps to review moving New York State to One Fair Wage. Seven states, including CA, already have One Fair Wage and have the same or higher restaurant industry job growth rates as New York.

Since the majority of tipped workers are women in the restaurant, nail salon, hair salon and other tipped industries who suffer from three times the poverty rate of other workers and the highest rates of sexual harassment of any industry because they must tolerate inappropriate customer behavior to feed their families in tips. Research shows that the states that have enacted One Fair Wage have uplifted millions of tipped workers out of poverty and cut sexual harassment in the restaurant industry in half. It would also support New York State’s current deficit situation by increasing payroll tax revenue.


December 12, 2019, 11:00 am to 12:00 pm


Casellula Restaurant, 401 W. 52nd Street, New York, NY


NY State Legislators
Nikki Cole, National Policy Campaign Director, One Fair Wage
Brian Keyser, Owner, Casellula Restaurant & Member, RAISE Association of ‘High Road’ Restaurants
Daniel Gotoff, Lake Research Associates
Tipped Workers (Restaurant & Nail Salon)
Patricia Smith, Senior Counsel, National Employment Law Project & Former Solicitor General, US Department of Labor under Pres. Obama
KC Wagner, Cornell University Institute on Labor Relations & Author, New York State Sexual Harassment report
Sarah Brafman, A Better Balance
Tito Sinha, Attorney, Take Root Justice


Subminimum wages are growing across the American economy. For decades, more than six million tipped workers in restaurants, nail salons, hair salons car washes, airports, parking lots have received a subminimum wage as little as $2.13 an hour from their employers, forcing them to rely on tips to feed their families – and tolerate inappropriate customer behavior in order to get those tips.

The only solution for every worker in America is to receive a full, fair minimum wage from their employer. On December 12, One Fair Wage will also announce that it is spinning out of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United as a broader, separate but aligned entity including tipped workers from many different sectors.

“Through our One Fair Wage, we will be advancing campaigns across the country to pass legislation in cities and states that will require all employers to pay all of their employees at least the full minimum wage,” said Saru Jayaraman, President of One Fair Wage. “We are truly excited for this opportunity and we will continue to stand together with workers and fight those who further betray hardworking families.”