For Release on January 22, 2017
Tim Rusch,

Restaurant Opportunities Centers United Urges Supreme Court to Reject National Restaurant Association’s Tip-Pooling Challenge

Statement by ROC United Co Director Saru Jayaraman on How Challenge is latest attempt by NRA to distract from unjust, two-tiered wage system

“ROC United renounces the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) latest effort to preserve the subminimum wage system by petitioning the Supreme Court to hear a challenge to existing laws that prevent tip pools. While there are disparities between the earnings of “front” and “back-of-the-house” workers, a two-tiered wage system – in which tipped restaurant workers make as little as $2.13 at the federal level – is an unacceptable means of addressing those disparities.

The NRA’s strategy puts the earnings of tipped workers at risk. It is critical that tips are solely the property of workers in the eyes of the law, and that there are severe penalties for tip stealing of any kind. Only with such protections in place, and One Fair Wage established, should tips be shared between front and back-of-the-house workers. Furthermore, tip sharing arrangements should be collectively decided upon by all hourly workers with no involvement from management, as required by federal law. Employers cannot mandate tip sharing agreements.

We urge the courts to reject this attempt on the part of the NRA to distract from the two-tiered wage system, the primary barrier denying restaurant workers a fair, living wage. Establishing One Fair Wage for all workers, tipped or untipped, should be at the forefront of any agenda aimed at ensuring fair wages for America’s 12 million restaurant workers.”


About Restaurant Opportunities Centers United
Co-founded by leading workers’ rights advocate Saru Jayaraman (“One of the top 50 most influential people in the restaurant industry” – Nation’s Restaurant News), ROC United has nearly 25,000 worker-members, 200 restaurant employer members, and several thousand consumer members in 15 states in the U.S., winning 15 worker-led campaigns, recovering $10 million in stolen tips and wages. Read more about Saru Jayaraman’s new book Forked: A New Standard for American Dining at