Activists and local leaders demand fair wages and sexual harassment

Community members and various organizations gathered in front of the State Governor’s Office in New York City, demanding greater measures that address gender equity, fair pay, sexual violence and sexual harassment in a systematic and decisive way.

The protesters in addition to congratulating the new governor Kathy Hochul, ask that sexual harassment not only be addressed in the state Capitol, but also in different businesses, especially restaurants.

After Hochul takes office on August 24, the leaders of organizations look forward to working with him to “eradicate this abusive practice that has become common” in the restaurant industry, affecting mostly black women. and Latinas.

New York City restaurant workers, One Fair Wage and New York Communities for Change organizations also demand fair wages that allow them to live with dignity.

The call from the rally organizers is to end the lower minimum wage, as this is a proven method that will help reduce sexual harassment by at least half.

The One Fair Wage organization discovered through a survey that in New York and several states across the country, restaurant workers said that tips are up to 50-70% of their salary.

Nearly 40% of these workers lost more than 70% in tips and more than half of the workers reported that they are reluctant to enforce COVID-19 safety measures amid concerns that customers will tip less.

Nearly 80% of workers surveyed said they experience hostile behavior experienced or witnessed, in response to staff enforcing COVID-19 safety protocols.

“Tipped service professionals like me need and deserve a full minimum wage in addition to tips. I have many colleagues who leave the restaurant industry because it is not worth working without a fair wage, ”said Annette Alcala who works in a restaurant.

Alcala denounced that sexual harassment by customers has increased since the pandemic began, especially this summer with the reopening of restaurants by “treating service personnel terribly.”

“We need Governor Hochul to lead the way and take bold action to end violence against women at work and pass a fair wage,” she added.

This scourge not only affects those who serve in these businesses, but there are also other industries that condemn it.

Erica Vlademir, co-founder of the New York State Task Force on Sexual Harassment, who in 2018 accused  former State Senator Jeffrey Klein of sexual harassment for forcibly kissing her, said in her speech that Lieutenant Governor Hochul has a very important responsibility. about this theme.

The political and social activist is betting that this is the most opportune time to deliver a bold agenda that “puts workers first,” including the workers in her own office.

“The scenario that was lived with Governor Cuomo is the result of a system that has been designed to protect the areas of power. And that trickles down to our state legislature. It triples in all workplaces, all labor industries and we are here to say no more, ”said Vlademir.

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