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Rep. Ocasio-Cortez Bartends at Jackson Heights Restaurant to Promote Minimum Wage Bill

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez addressing the crowd at The Queensboro Restaurant (@rocunited Twitter)

June 4, 2019 By Meghan Sackman

Congress Member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez mixed drinks and waited on tables at a Jackson Heights restaurant Friday to promote legislation that would increase the federal minimum wage for tipped workers.

Nearly 100 guests and activists gathered at The Queensboro Restaurant, located at 80-02 Northern Blvd., to watch Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, a former bartender, serve customers at around 4 p.m. for an hour.

The event, held at the venue where Joseph Crowley learned of his defeat to Ocasio-Cortez in last June’s primary, aimed to promote the “Raise the Wage Act.”

This federal legislation, co-sponsored by Ocasio-Cortez, would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 over the next six years. This would apply to tipped workers who currently receive sub-minimum wages, she said.

“The federal tipped minimum wage is $2.13 an hour. That is unacceptable,” said Ocasio-Cortez in a video tweeted by organizers of the event Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC). “Any job that pays $2.13 an hour is not a job, it’s indentured servitude.”

Although New York State has a much higher tipped minimum wage, between $7.50 to $10 per hour depending on a business’s size and location in the state, Ocasio-Cortez encouraged Governor Cuomo to sign off on increasing tipped workers base wage to be $15 like other New York workers.

New York is one of 43 states, not including Alaska, California, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, that has a subminimum wage for tipped workers, she said. 

Dudley Stewart, co-owner of The Queensboro Restaurant, said Ocasio-Cortez’s Raise the Wage Act is a step in the right direction and he agreed to hold the event since he wants to learn more about the legislation.

“We want to open up discussion about the minimum wage and raising it,” Stewart said. “It’s a complicated subject so we want to see what would be best for both the restaurants and their employees.”

The legislation was introduced on Jan. 16, 2019 and has been referred to the House Education and Labor committee.

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JHeights my whole life

A.O.C. chose a restaurant that charges 16$ for a hamburger to talk about workers getting paid 15$ an hour and she doesn’t want the pay to go up this year she wants it to hit 15$ 6 years from now. Meanwhile whether the servers make 2 dollars and change plus tips or 15$ an hour they can’t afford a burger at this restaurant. P.S. the burger was one better priced items. That place is overpriced read the yelp reviews. Bring back Ihop!

She served there because this is the venue where Joseph Crowley learned of his defeat to Ocasio-Cortez in last June’s primary

If you read the article maybe you wouldn’t have to feign so much outrage?

JHeights my whole life

Know what A.O.C.? Every commentor is absolutely right. You chose a new restaurant that is rarely visited by people who have lived in this town for years. It caters to the english speaking upscale professionals not the working class and poor or the immigrants that A.O.C. claims to love and defend. Oh and I am pretty sure the servers and busboys at the restaurant don’t make 15$ an hour. You claim to fight gentrification yet you went to a restaurant that caters to and symbolizes exactly that. You could’ve gone to a restaurant that’s been here for decades but no you did not. You’re a fraud A.O.C.

I agree, burger prices are somehow relevant to politics

I heard the burger didn’t even come with cheese! WTF AOC?!!

The restaurant is looking out for customers with dairy allergies

You should give him more downvotes to prove your point. I don’t think he has enough.


Minimum wage for servers means way less tips! I always looked at my $2.15 hour as throw away money.


How does that equal way less tips? You should be worried about who’s getting fired so the others may get that raise!

I agree, employers shouldn't pay their employees a living wage

Customers should be the ones deciding how much a server’s income is, not their boss!


I love tipping at least 30% for wait staff that deserve it. But when I go to a shoddy place like the new Denny’s on Northern, oh boy I don’t feel bad leaving just a dollar for some of those workers there. Minimum wage doesn’t mean you’ll get less tips. You know how to get better tips? Show your damn face and fill up the customers water or coffee every 10 minutes. Easy right? That’s the difference between me leaving $1 or $10 tip on a $20 meal.


Nothing wrong with her choosing a new place. That is a very convenient area unlike Roosevelt ave where the debris is falling down from the train tracks, loud, dirty, and it smells. Don’t shame her for having a bit of class

because this is the venue where Joseph Crowley learned of his defeat to Ocasio-Cortez in last June’s primary

it says it in the article…

Food for thought

Cheap show , if she really wanted to make a difference she should have gone on Roosevelt Ave or Junction Blvd.

Terrible restaurant choice

How tone deaf can she be? Why did she choose a restaurant that primarily caters to the affluent white people in the neighborhood?


Trump Lovers: “AOC only got elected because hispanics voted for her!”

Also Trump Lovers: “Barely any hispanics voted for AOC!”

This is the venue where Joseph Crowley learned of his defeat to Ocasio-Cortez in last June’s primary

More information can be found in sentence 3.


How come she didn’t give drinks away? I saw $16 for a drink, and I suspect there were some in the audience that would have loved to have a refreshing cocktail, but couldn’t’ afford one.
Democratic socialism wants us all to have a drink. On the house!

Random guy

She should have gone to any of the many restaurants on Roosevelt Ave to bartend


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