ORC International conducted the survey of over 1,000 American adults on behalf of the National Consumers League, a nonprofit advocacy group for consumers. And the findings are clear: People want restaurant workers to get fair wages, all their tips, and paid sick days.
But while college-educated Americans may have read more books on class and injustice, and higher-earning Americans might have more wealth to share, lower-income and less-educated Americans are far more compassionate towards their servers -- perhaps for the same reason that lower-income households give a greater percentage of their income to charity.
Wealthy people are less likely to favor increasing the minimum wage.
Eighty-seven percent of Americans think the federal tipped minimum wage of $2.13 an hour should go up, even though the number hasn't budged for 22 years. Restaurant servers earn an average of $8.72 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or $18,130 a year, making it one of the lowest paying jobs on American soil (and almost $3,000 less than retail workers).
But of respondents with a high school education or less, 90 percent thought the minimum wage should go up, compared to 80 percent of college grads.
And of people from households earning less than $75,000 a year, 85 percent considered it important that the whole tip they left went to their servers, compared to 71 percent of those making more.
The survey found that just 57 percent of Americans want their servers to receive paid sick days, though almost two out of three without college degrees favored it versus just one out of two college grads. It was women who cared about sick days most of all -- 66 percent, compared to 48 percent of men.
As it stands, 90 percent of restaurant workers report not having that benefit, according to 2011 research by The Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, an advocacy group for low wage restaurant workers. The vast majority of our nation's mightiest chains force workers to surrender a day's wages if they're sick, including Arby's, Cracker Barrel, California Pizza Kitchen, Domino's Pizza, Hard Rock Cafe, IHOP, T.G.I. Friday's, and Outback Steakhouse.
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