Chicago – Women Employed, which has pursued equity for women in the workforce for 50 years—and especially focuses on the needs of women in low-paid roles and Black and Latina/x women—today applauded Chicago’s City Council members for passing an ordinance in an overwhelming vote of 36-10 to end the subminimum wage for tipped workers in Chicago.
The ordinance phases out the subminimum wage for tipped workers over five years, ensuring that tipped workers rightly earn Chicago’s full minimum wage with tips on top. It also makes Chicago the largest city in the country to independently phase out subminimum wages for tipped workers.
“This is a long overdue step toward economic, gender, and racial justice for workers in tipped industries who are predominantly women and people of color,” said Cherita Ellens, President and CEO of Women Employed. “We thank our partners and Alds. Fuentes, Ramirez-Rosa, Rodriguez, Yancy, Hall, and all the alderpersons who fought for our city’s tipped workers. And we applaud Mayor Brandon Johnson for standing firm on his campaign promise of pay equity.”
Women Employed has been part of a dedicated group of advocates in the fight to end the subminimum wage for tipped workers in Chicago and Illinois, including One Fair Wage, Our Revolution, the Worker Center for Racial Justice, Shriver Center on Poverty Law, Fight for $15, Arise Chicago, SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana Missouri and Kansas, and many more. Chicago is on the leading edge of policy change across the country being driven by tipped workers and partners like One Fair Wage.
“Chicago’s landmark decision to phase out the subminimum wage for tipped workers marks a new era of fairness in the restaurant industry,” said Saru Jayaraman, President of One Fair Wage. “This victory is a testament to the power of collective action, and it sets the stage for a nationwide movement for fair wages and a dignified livelihood for all workers all across the country. And we thank Women Employed so much for their leadership to help make this happen!”
This critical victory will impact almost 100,000 tipped workers in Chicago, who currently earn just 60 percent of the city minimum wage, and who are subject to discrimination, sexual harassment, and wage theft. But there is more work to be done. Women Employed will continue to level the playing field for tipped workers and won’t rest until all working people have a full and fair minimum wage. More information on Women Employed and its mission can be found here.
About Women Employed
Since 1973, Women Employed has worked to improve the economic status of women and remove barriers to economic equity by affecting policy change, expanding access to educational opportunities, and advocating for fair and inclusive workplaces so that all women, families, and communities can thrive. For more information, visit womenemployed.org or follow @WomenEmployed on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.