Skip to Content

Valentine’s Day Special: Dinner for $2.13!

On Valentine’s Day 1991, you may have shared a special meal with your sweetheart. At that time – 21 years ago – the federal minimum wage for servers and other tipped professions was $2.13.

Today, it’s exactly the same. While the federal minimum wage has increased (although, not nearly enough!) for non-tipped jobs, workers who rely on tips to supplement their income have been left behind. Servers earning the tipped minimum wage of 2.13 an hour are twice as likely to need food stamps as the general population. And, as you may have guessed, three-quarters of servers are women.

Help the Ms. Foundation for Women support its longstanding grantee Restaurant Opportunities Centers United in the fight to increase the minimum wage for both tipped and non-tipped employees. 

The restaurant industry is one of the largest and fastest-growing sectors of the U.S. economy, yet servers experience nearly three times the rate of poverty as in the general workforce. The typical full-time, year-round, female restaurant worker is paid 79 percent of what her male counterpart earns. The wage gap is even greater for black female servers who earn only 60 percent of what male servers overall are paid. We urgently need protections in place that allow low-wage working women, like restaurant servers, to achieve economic security. To learn more about inequality in the restaurant industry and the issues affecting tipped wage workers, read ROC-United's report Tipped Over the Edge.

This Valentine’s Day, share your love with the hardworking servers across the country. Sign ROC-United’s petition to Congress in support of the Fair Minimum Wage Act. And if you celebrate by going out to dinner – on Valentine’s Day and every day – check out ROC-United’s National Diners’ Guide to Ethical Eating to ensure that you’re supporting responsible restaurants that pay fair wages and provide basic benefits.

For more information about poor working conditions in the restaurant industry, check out ROC-United co-founder Saru Jayaraman’s upcoming book, Behind the Kitchen Door, launching on Feb. 13 – 2.13!

Support Ms. Foundation grantee ROC-United's campaign to raise tipped minimum wages!

Pledge to support the Fair Minimum Wage Act, which would:

  • -- Raise the minimum wage for tipped employees for the first time in 21 years.
  • -- Raise the minimum wage for non-tipped employees by 85 cents a year for three years, bringing it to $9.80 by fall 2014.
  • -- Adjust the minimum wage each year beginning in 2015 to keep up with the cost of living.

Click here to sign the petition now!

Join the Ms. Foundation in our fight to eliminate barriers for all women.