Illinois Needs Full & Fair Wages

A Statement on Illinois’ Budget From the Illinois Full & Fair Wage Coalition

The General Assembly passed the state budget early in the morning on April 9, 2022, which included $50 million of relief funds for restaurants-–without a guarantee that help will mean meaningful relief for Illinois’s restaurant workers.

For too long, restaurant workers have been forgotten. Today in Illinois, tipped workers — of whom restaurant workers are the vast majority — are not guaranteed a full and fair minimum wage. Instead, they are paid a subminimum wage: $7.20/hour. The pandemic has made things worse: tips are down, and harassment is up. That is why thousands of workers have left the industry and won’t come back until they can earn a fair wage. They simply can’t return because their families can’t survive on $7.20/hour.

Any relief for restaurants should be predicated on raising the wages of workers. And short-term relief will not be enough to bring workers back to the industry. Only ending Illinois’s subminimum wage for tipped workers will do that. Illinois should take the long-term step to guarantee restaurant workers earn a full and fair wage.

The Illinois Full and Fair Wage Coalition is made up of workers, social justice organizations, and restaurant owners who are demanding the end of the subminimum wage for tipped workers.

Illinois Full & Fair Wage Coalition Organizations

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