If you or someone you know works for tips, please join the Tompkins County Workers’ Center (TCWC) on Monday, March 12th, to urge New York to change how tipped workers are paid!
One of the TCWCs central programs is our Workers Rights Hotline where workers from all over the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier contact us about workplace problems and issues. The NUMBER 1 industry from which workers contact us is the restaurant industry, and many such workers are tipped workers.
Did you know that the Minimum Wage in NY for tipped workers is as much as $2.90 per hour LESS than for everyone else? Did you know that tipped workers rely on tips to feed their families? Did you know that tipped workers have a higher rate of poverty and face drastic wage fluctuations based on tips? Did you know that “tip credit” in American wages is part of the legacy of slavery?
In late December, 2017, we at the TCWC were very excited to hear that NYS Governor Cuomo announced plans to hold Wage Board Hearings across New York on potentially ELIMINATING the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers throughout the State.
The practice of tipped wages means that workers can be paid LESS than the minimum wage. Their employers are supposed to make up the difference if their tips don’t bring them up at least to the minimum wage, but we at the Workers’ Center regularly see the painful reality of how many employers cheat the system.
The Governor’s proposal would not eliminate tipping itself, rather the tipped wage.
Hearings will be presided over by State Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon and will be focused on the scope of the problem, including the hardships created by tipping, reasons for and ramifications of eliminating the subminimum wage in impacted tipped occupations (i.e. car wash worker, beautician, waiter, bartender, dog groomer, tow truck driver, wedding planner, tour guide, etc.) and recommendations for the potential elimination timeline and complicating factors.
The very first hearing will be held in Syracuse on Monday, March 12th, at 10 a.m. The TCWC would like to turn out in force to this hearing, ESPECIALLY with workers who presently receive the tipped minimum wage, as well as with workers who PREVIOUSLY have worked in a tipped profession. (Hearings will also be held in New York City, Buffalo, Long Island, Watertown and Albany.) Believe us: if we and you don’t testify, industry sure will.
Do you want to ride with us and tell the State why the below-minimum wage for tipped workers has to go? CONTACT US now at TCWRH@tcworkerscenter.org to sign up.