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Abstract

This paper examines the inequality in the restaurant industry in America. It focuses specifically on the tipped minimum wages in different states compared to the real minimum wage and looks into the gender and racial inequality present in restaurants. The first section analyzes the history of tipping and what it has become in the United States. The paper then moves to describe different struggles that tipped workers in the restaurant industry have to face. The paper also discusses different arguments to raising the tipped minimum wage and compares states with a tipped minimum wage and states without a tipped minimum wage. The paper looks at a Massachusetts state law specifically to analyze how the state is trying to protect tipped workers but is actually contributing to inequality among workers and the ethnic and gender minority cycle in tipped work. The final section describes different movements restaurant workers have started and the battles they have won as well as restaurant owners who have decided to join in the restaurant reform movement. The paper concludes with suggestions for consumers to help the fight and explains why the livelihood of tipped workers in the restaurant industry should and does matter to all American customers. This paper examines the inequality in the restaurant industry in America. It focuses specifically on the tipped minimum wages in different states compared to the real minimum wage and looks into the gender and racial inequality present in restaurants. The first section analyzes the history of tipping and what it has become in the United States. The paper then moves to describe different struggles that tipped workers in the restaurant industry have to face. The paper also discusses different arguments to raising the tipped minimum wage and compares states with a tipped minimum wage and states without a tipped minimum wage. The paper looks at a Massachusetts state law specifically to analyze how the state is trying to protect tipped workers but is actually contributing to inequality among workers and the ethnic and gender minority cycle in tipped work. The final section describes different movements restaurant workers have started and the battles they have won as well as restaurant owners who have decided to join in the restaurant reform movement. The paper concludes with suggestions for consumers to help the fight and explains why the livelihood of tipped workers in the restaurant industry should and does matter to all American customers.