Washington, D.C.— Today, House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and 15 additional Members of Congress sent a letter to President Biden asking that he implement the “High Road Kitchens” program. High Road Kitchens is an initiative that provides funding and training to restaurants that commit to paying a living wage and following equitable employment practices. Since 2020, High Road Kitchens has proven effective in helping fight food insecurity and increasing wages for restaurant workers in communities across the country.
“From embracing unionization efforts to implementing policies that move our country toward full-employment – we admire and value the leadership your administration has shown on labor issues. We are writing to you during a crucial moment in which millions of workers are no longer willing to work for poverty and subminimum wages, thousands of small and medium-sized businesses are raising wages to recruit staff, and the policy landscape to heed your call to raise the minimum wage and end the subminimum wage for tipped workers is more favorable than it has ever been,” wrote the lawmakers. “At this crucial moment, we write to ask you to support the broad adoption of High Road Kitchens, a program that has been shown to increase wages for restaurant workers while maintaining restaurant profitability across multiple states and localities.”
High Road Kitchens was launched in 2020 in response to the COVID crisis and has so far been implemented in three states – California, Michigan, and West Virginia – and three cities – Chicago, New York, and Boston. To date, the program has utilized public and private funds to provide hundreds of restaurants with grants. In addition to funding, participating restaurants receive technical assistance and training on how to raise wages profitably, increase race and gender equity in the workplace, and increase advancement opportunities for their employees.
In the letter, the lawmakers call on President Biden to help expand the program by increasing awareness of the program among states and localities, encouraging the use of available public funds to support participating restaurants, and collaborating with philanthropic leaders to help support the program.
For a copy of the letter and full list of signers, click here.