My name’s Ricky Mercado. Born and raised in Providence, RI and I’m a server here in Providence, Rhode Island. We don’t get paid not even a quarter of what we’re worth as servers, and I believe we deserve to get paid more than we are now because we’re not just supporting ourselves, but our family members and loved ones. Getting paid $2.89 an hour is a joke. It’s a joke that we work so hard to put food on people’s tables and this is what our employer thinks we’re worth. Even if it was $5 an hour, that’s still absolutely nothing. Making the full minimum wage would mean I could value my job and feel like my employer values me. There needs to be a change and it needs to happen like yesterday.
I’ve always worked in restaurants, I didn’t have anyone to look after my son. Sometimes you’re sick, very sick, and still have to go to work, because the boss tells you: you HAVE to come into work… My dream has always been to give the best to my son, to be able to give him what I couldn’t have, and that he doesn’t suffer what I’ve suffered.
The majority of people earning sub-minimum wages and living off tips are WOMEN. Is it a coincidence that the tipped minimum wage has been frozen at $2.13 since 1991? We don’t think so.
When a night at a restaurant or bar finally comes to a close, most Americans engage in an instinctive ritual. They dig into their wallets, fiddle with their smartphone calculators, and then decide how much money to give their server or bartender for a job well done.