Chicago restaurant workers call out 'unlivable' wages

Chicago leaders joined city restaurant workers Monday in cooking up a rally to ask for more money for workers.

They talked about Illinois' role in a recently exposed scheme by the National Restaurant Association.

The scheme allowed the association to use funds from workers required to take food safety training towards lobbying efforts to suppress the same workers' wages and maintaining the minimum wage for tipped workers.

"These workers have been struggling with the highest rates of poverty and sexual harassment of any industry in the United States for decades because they've had to put up with so much to get tips from customers. That became unlivable with the pandemic. With the pandemic, thousands of these workers reported, 'I can't actually get unemployment insurance because they're telling me my sub minimum wage is too low to qualify for benefits,'" said Saru Jayaraman, president of One Fair Wage. 


Advocates want to end the subminimum wage for tipped workers, despite the National Restaurant Association lobbying, given the staffing crisis.

Thousands of Illinois restaurant workers have left the industry due to subminimum poverty wages.