Rally for fair wages to be held today at noon
By The Star Staff
Sen. Rafael Bernabe Riefkohl called on the public to participate in a demonstration for fair wages today at noon in front of the Puerto Rico Restaurants Association offices in Caparra Mall, Guaynabo.
The aim of the protest called by the organizations Justicia Salarial (Salary Justice) and One Fair Wage is the repeal of the $2.13 minimum salary received by people who work for tips, particularly those in the gastronomy and hospitality industries.
Among the calls for salary justice is for the approval of Senate Bill 754, authored by Bernabe and fellow Citizen Victory Movement Sen. Ana Irma Rivera Lassén. The measure establishes that all people who work for tips receive the minimum wage. In addition, they demand the extension of labor rights to stop the massive exodus of labor in the gastronomic and tourist industries, effective protocols for the management and prevention of cases of sexual and workplace harassment endured by waitpersons and bartenders by their superiors, co-workers and clients.
Likewise, the bill calls for the publication of work schedules one week in advance so that workers can effectively plan their lives in and outside the workplace, and for the right to organize under unions.
“Last year, we started with an increase in the minimum wage in Puerto Rico to $8.50 from $7.25. This progress is far from doing justice to our workers, but it is a step forward,” Bernabe said. “Unfortunately, this year also begins with a proposed increase in tolls, and electricity and water [rates], and the continuous increase in the cost of different daily needs. We see how this increase disappears because people’s purchasing power will remain unchanged,” he said. “In addition, we see the injustice against those who work for tips. The minimum wage applies to those who are supposed to receive that increase to $8.50, but our laws allow the employer to pay them only $2.13. We must overcome this precarious situation that forces thousands of people who work for tips to live with this salary.”