Restaurant Workers Call on Congress: Save Our Federal Unemployment Benefits!

We are restaurant workers and their supporters, and we call on Congress to extend the $600 weekly in federal unemployment benefits.

The restaurant industry employs millions across the United States and is in unique danger from COVID-19 and the economic crisis. According to the National Restaurant Association, 15.6 million people work in the restaurant industry, and many of their jobs are at risk. Independent restaurants are particularly vulnerable. The Independent Restaurant Coalition reports, “without further assistance, Congress risks leaving 11 million Americans who work in independent restaurants unemployed.”

We are eager to return to work at our restaurants when they can safely reopen, but many of us may not have jobs to return to. If our restaurants shut down temporarily or permanently, or if fewer workers are needed for takeout only, there will continue to be massive unemployment in our industry.

Many of us were already struggling financially and have little savings. The federal unemployment benefits are set to end on July 31st. If the federal unemployment benefits end, we will not be able to afford food or to pay our bills. The national average for state unemployment is only $378 per week. We believe that all workers in our industry, regardless of citizenship status, deserve federal support.  

If our industry continues to struggle, we want skills training, jobs programs, and tuition support to help us find new opportunities. But right now, we need direct help to pay our bills.

We call on Congress to extend federal unemployment benefits immediately!