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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will bartend to promote a higher minimum wage



Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York is taking up bartending again — this time to promote minimum wage increases.

The 29-year-old Bronx native will pour a few drinks at a restaurant in her Bronx-Queens district on Friday during an event organized by Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United, the New York Daily News reported Tuesday.

Ocasio-Cortez is attempting to build support for the federal Raise the Wage Act, which would double the minimum wage by 2024, and New York State’s One Fair Wage, which would mandate that tipped workers are paid at least the minimum wage.

The lawmaker also took the opportunity to hit back at some of her critics, who’ve ridiculed her service industry roots.

“To the silver spoon classists saying they’re going to ‘make AOC bartend again’: You’re in luck! I’ll be bartending in NY-14 this week to promote a national living wage,” she tweeted on Tuesday. “Let’s see if my margarita + mocktail game is still on point.”

She went on, “At the event I will also unveil my newest platform policy: Abolish Sour Mix 2020,” adding a winking emoji.

In many states across the country, including New York, tipped workers can be paid less than the minimum wage by their employers. Tipped workers are disproportionately women and people of color, and critics say the policy encourages wage theft and makes workers more vulnerable to sexual harassment on the job.

“We’re very grateful for our partnership with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who fully understands the struggles of these workers,” ROC president Saru Jayaraman told the Daily News. “As a former tipped worker, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez can shed light on the importance of One Fair Wage to lift up these workers and their families.”

Read more: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweets about the toll of receiving death threats against her and says she spends some mornings ‘reviewing photos of the men who want to kill me’

Ocasio-Cortez worked as a bartender at a Manhattan taqueria up until early spring of 2018 — just a few months before she shocked the political world by winning her insurgent primary bid against longtime House incumbent Joe Crowley.

And she’s regularly defended her work in the service industry since.

“I find it revealing when people mock where I came from, & say they’re going to “send me back to waitressing,” as if that is bad or shameful,” she wrote in a viral tweet in March. “It’s as though they think being a member of Congress makes you intrinsically “better” than a waitress. But our job is to serve, not rule.”

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