Young workers suffer indignities on the job ranging from verbal abuse to dangerous and exhausting work conditions. Racial and gender discrimination and harassment are particularly pervasive in the restaurant industry. Female servers describe being hired or fired on the basis of managersí perceptions of their attractiveness and rewarded for dressing provocatively, which increases their vulnerability to sexual harassment. Waitresses report being groped, ogled, spied on while changing, asked for sexual favors, assaulted, and taunted, by managers, customers, and co-workers.
YWU formed a Worker Justice/ Policy Committee to address workers' day-to-day problems and improve the quality of jobs in restaurants and retail by directly confronting employers. The WJP is made up entirely of current and former restaurant workers who are trained in labor law, organizing and campaign planning. They all know what itís like to work with crazy managers, rude customers and bureaucratic corporations. The WJP can help workers with workplace issues ranging from violations of labor law, to winning back wages, to dealing with bad managers and unfair employers. All workers, regardless of immigration status, age or job are welcome to meet with the WJP to assess their case. For the next WJP meeting date, please go to the "About Us" page.
Since YWU started this committee, the organization has recovered nearly $100,000,000 dollars in back pay. We have also banded together with other worker centers in San Francisco to launch the newly formed Progressive Workers Alliance!