The brutal economic fallout of coronavirus has not been felt equally. As is always true in times of economic crisis, it is the lowest-paid, least-protected workers who suffer most. As is especially true now, when the economic downturn is the result of orders to stay at home and close certain businesses, it is workers in service industries, many of whom rely on tips for most of their pay, who have borne the greatest impact. While many white collar jobs have shifted from the office to the home, service industry jobs—long plagued by poverty wages and poor working conditions to begin with—have simply disappeared. Unfortunately, initial research is showing that a majority of these workers are not able to access unemployment benefits because they received a subminimum wage plus tips that did not total enough income to qualify for benefits.
In new polling, we found overwhelming bipartisan support for policies that will build a more fair economy for all workers, and that will level the playing field between service workers who depend heavily on tips and the wider workforce.