Carnegie Mellon University
April 06, 2020

Solidarity During the Coronavirus Crisis

CMU researcher at the Center for Ethics and Policy creates a Virtual Tip Jar that has been replicated across the nation to help service workers without work

By Cameron Monteith

Stacy Kish
  • Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • 412-268-9309

In nationwide efforts to flatten the curve and slow the spread of coronavirus, many service workers find themselves out of work. Waitresses, barbers, and bartenders are without their main source of income: tips.

Danielle Wenner, an assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy and the associate director for the Center for Ethics and Policy, created the Pittsburgh Virtual Tip Jar in response to the high amount of service workers suddenly finding themselves unemployed. Wenner decided to find a way so she and others like her can help local workers as well as the greater Pittsburgh community.

"Those of us who have a steady income and whose jobs aren't threatened by the virus [need to] take responsibility to help support the people around us who aren't as lucky as we are," said Wenner. "One of the most important things that people need to [do is] make sending tips a part of their regular routine."

As of March 27, 2020, more than 7,000 service workers in Pittsburgh have uploaded their contact information into the tip jar.

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