ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)–On Monday, Actress Susan Sarandon was among several rallyers who were intentionally arrested and cited by state police in the North Concourse Legislative Lobby.
They we’re calling on the state legislature to pass a bill that would allow restaurant workers to get paid full minimum wage along with tips. Saru Jayaraman, President of One Fair Wage, said many in the restaurant industry are women.
“This would allow them the ability to feed their children, this would allow them the stability of a wage than having to say sometimes it’s a lot, sometimes it’s a little depending on the shift. So they’d be able to pay their rent, feed their children, and most importantly contribute to the NYS economy.”
Susan Sarandon said she happy to help support working and single mothers.
“I, myself, am a mother. I’ve been a single mother. I have worked in a restaurant for tips and I know how difficult it is,” explained Sarandon. “They are very, very, important and need to be treated with dignity for not only the back breaking labor that they do, but what they have to do to communicate and understand, and be patient and all the things. And they are your link to a successful business.”
Sarandon said she’s shocked and ashamed that New York doesn’t already allow this. The legislation has been around for years and advocates are hoping it will finally get passed before the end of session.
“For all of us that love to eat out, and are finding on Monday and Tuesday nights we can’t find a space because there are signs up saying they don’t have enough staff. We are going to find a lot more workers willing to come back to this industry once we pay them an actual wage,” said Jayaraman.
However, not everyone is a fan of this legislation. One restaurant worker is worried it would put smaller businesses out of business.
“It would be more of a push towards less full-service and more counter service because you’re not gonna be able to pay the same number of people,” said Maggie Raczynski. “It’s going to hurt service overall, beyond the fact that it’s going to increase the prices of the items to the guests. And if the items are too much, people are either going to go out to eat less or are going to question why they’re more and if they know we make a full wage, why would they tip us as much as they tip us now?”
A total of eight people from One Fair Wage were requested to be arrested after refusing to move to a safer location. They received citations for disorderly conduct, a violation level-offense and released with appearance tickets.