Pizza chain &pizza has announced that it will achieve its goal of a $15 minimum wage across all locations by 2022; accelerating its ongoing ‘Fight for $15’ and furthering its already industry-leading wage standards.
Like with all of its brand actions and activism this year, this initiative serves to both light a fire under legislatures at a time of great change and educate the masses on systemic inequalities affecting 10% of America’s “essential workers”: the food service industry.
Inspired by the historic Amendment 2 in Florida – where despite an overall reddish hue, it voted in favor of a $15 minimum wage – &pizza believes that improving the quality of life of the American workforce (which is predominantly composed of people of color) is no longer a partisan issue and should no longer wait for governmental action. Brands, the communities they serve, and the individuals who support them, must unite in action around this critical issue…and now, while those who risked their lives in the face of a pandemic need us the most.
“2020 knocked us all on our asses, but these essential workers showed up,” said CEO and co-founder of &pizza, Michael Lastoria. “In most cases, they had to for the paycheck – for their livelihood and families – and in all cases because they are the best of us – caring and committed – as we now need to be even more so for them. We must make the minimum wage in this country a living wage, and if Congress can’t figure that out quickly, &pizza will show them how. Our goal is simple: to unite the working class around this issue.”
The debunked myth that raising the minimum wage is bad for business is the sort of divisive rhetoric that will linger unless actively stopped, so &pizza – who has shown historic growth while generating best-in-class profit margins and created a “f&mily” of individuals coming together for a common cause in their shop communities – aims to lead the industry and country by example.
Since launching in 2012, &pizza made fighting for its workers a cornerstone of its brand and business; from joining the Business for a Fair Minimum Wage alliance and staging DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s signing of the Fair Shot Minimum Wage Amendment Act at her local &pizza shop, to working with Senator Sanders on the Raise the Wage Act and standing with him and House Minority leader Chuck Schumer at its signing.
More recently broadening this mandate in response to the pandemic, social justice violations, and the Presidential election, &pizza instituted 3 days of PTO specifically for personal activism, total shop closures and PTO on Election Day to remove work-related impediments from casting a vote, as well as the Unity Pay incentive which gave $1 raises to all employees, immediate health insurance policies and significantly discounted transportation services for those unable to use public transportation because of COVID-19.
And in solidarity with other “essential workers” they championed a Hero Pies program which saw 60,000+ free pizzas delivered to all hospital heroes by locked-down Americans looking for ways to show their appreciation.
For more information, please visit https://andpizza.com or text #essential to 200-03 for a subscription to &pizza’s mailing list where you can learn more about its initiatives and join the fight for essential workers.