D.C. Food Workers Survey Reveals Low Pay, Racial Disparity

By WAMU 88.5
|  Monday, Feb 14, 2011  |  Updated 9:00 PM EDT
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D.C. Food Workers Survey Reveals Low Pay, Racial Disparity

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Booked a table yet? Good luck. Valentine's Day is one of the busiest nights of the year for restaurants. But a report out Monday called "Behind the Kitchen Door" reveals the dark side of D.C.'s thriving restaurant industry.

According to a survey by the nonprofit Restaurant Opportunities Center United, 11 percent of D.C. food workers, even when tips are factored in, are not earning the minimum wage. Ninety percent, the report found, do not receive any paid sick days.

There is also a striking racial disparity. The report found that 80 percent of the most visible jobs go to whites, while two-thirds of the so called "back of the house" jobs like food running and dishwashing were filled by either blacks or Latinos.

To address these problems the report recommended increasing the minimum wage and mandating paid sick days for all employees.

The federal minimum wage for servers is $2.13. U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) plans to introduce a bill that would ultimately increase that to $5.50.

Listen to the complete story at wamu.org

Copyright 2011 WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio. All Rights Reserved.

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