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Have we reached the tipping point for restaurant worker pay?

Phyllis Ellis, the owner of Johnny's Drive-In, talks to a customer during lunch time inside the restaurant on Nov. 29, 2023.
Cornell Watson
for WUNC
Phyllis Ellis, the owner of Johnny's Drive-In, talks to a customer during lunch time inside the restaurant on Nov. 29, 2023.

The practice of tipping is rooted in racism and perpetuates sexual harassment, according to Saru Jayaraman. Jayaraman is the Director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California and is President of One Fair Wage, an organization advocating for the full and fair minimum wage for all workers — including the millions of restaurant workers who are paid a tipped minimum wage. She talks with co-hosts Leoneda Inge and Jeff Tiberii about the history of tipping and her view of its future.

Saru Jayaraman, President and Co-Founder of One Fair Wage (OFW), Director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley

Then, co-host Leoneda Inge continues the conversation about tipping with Lindsay Moriarty, owner of Monuts Donuts.

Moriarty is accustomed to taking risks out of necessity. After graduating with a dual master’s degree, Lindsay couldn’t find job — so, of course, she started selling donuts out of a tricycle cart.

Monuts Donuts quickly became a success and Lindsay soon realized she could run her small business using the values that brought her to grad school in the first place: promoting equitable economic development and community health by offering a living wage, paid time off and health insurance to employees.

Three years ago, Monuts tried something risky, again — going “tip-free.” She talks with co-host Leoneda Inge about how she makes it work for the business and for employees.

Lindsay Moriarty, Owner and Chef, Monuts Donuts

Leoneda Inge is the co-host of WUNC's "Due South." Leoneda has been a radio journalist for more than 30 years, spending most of her career at WUNC as the Race and Southern Culture reporter. Leoneda’s work includes stories of race, slavery, memory and monuments. She has won "Gracie" awards, an Alfred I. duPont Award and several awards from the Radio, Television, Digital News Association (RTDNA). In 2017, Leoneda was named "Journalist of Distinction" by the National Association of Black Journalists.
Jeff Tiberii is the co-host of WUNC's "Due South." Jeff joined WUNC in 2011. During his 20 years in public radio, he was Morning Edition Host at WFDD and WUNC’s Greensboro Bureau Chief and later, the Capitol Bureau Chief. Jeff has covered state and federal politics, produced the radio documentary “Right Turn,” launched a podcast, and was named North Carolina Radio Reporter of the Year four times.
Rachel McCarthy is a producer for "Due South." She previously worked at WUNC as a producer for "The Story with Dick Gordon." More recently, Rachel was podcast managing editor at Capitol Broadcasting Company where she developed narrative series and edited a daily podcast. She also worked at "The Double Shift" podcast as supervising producer. Rachel learned about audio storytelling at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. Prior to working in audio journalism, she was a research assistant at the Aspen Institute in Washington, DC.
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