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This is what happens in my restaurant Platano, a Salvadoran restaurant in Berkeley, California, every single day:

It is a splendid morning or day like any other and our wait staff is at their jobs, attending customers or setting the tables or clearing dishes. The work that they do has value in our daily lives and that is why we should compensate them well.

For me, as the owner of this fine establishment, it brings me pride to see how beautifully my workers interact with customers and each other and how productive they are when we all give them the necessary economic support to raise their families. Paying a living wage helps my business because the workers feel respected and don’t quit on me, leaving me scrambling for new workers. In paying a living wage, I am saving money in hiring and training new employees. Also, when morale is high among my wait staff this is reflected in the satisfaction and generosity of the customers.

Customers and both the public and private sectors all have a role to play so that our hardworking wait staff receives the support that they need at the end of the day. That is why I favor the bill WAGES, which would raise the federal minimum wage for tipped workers from $2.13 an hour to $5.50 an hour within two years that it takes effect.

I hope that our government seriously considers it and understands the necessity it is for our economy and the country, especially at this critical moment. It is essential so that mothers and students can obtain a waiter or waitressing job with dignity to pay for their studies and personal expenses. It is especially necessary for single mothers who have the additional task of providing for the well-being of their families.

I urge Congress to pass this wage increase quickly so that it will make a difference in all of the country. And I hope that all of you who are reading this blog, will support the valuable work that our wait staff provides each and every day by signing MomsRising's petition here.

Thank you for this opportunity for me to share what people are living during these difficult times.

Nicolas Sanchez is a renowned local chef and the owner of the Salvadoran restaurant Platano located in downtown Berkeley, California. Additionally, he is very active in his community, raising funds for Charterhouse Center for Families, a non-profit organization that helps families attain health care, education and job training. Sanchez also helps raise funds to prevent child abuse. When he is not at his restaurant or helping charities, he is a coach of soccer teams for kids and supports his son in baseball, golf and soccer.

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