It’s Official: NYS Dept of Labor Increases Wages of ‘Tipped Workers’ to $7.50!

(ITHACA) The New York State Department of Labor’s (DOL) Acting Commissioner, Mario Musolino, today announced that the wages for all ‘tipped workers’ in New York State will be increased to $7.50/hour as of 12/31/15.
Says Erin Leidy, a pizza delivery driver in Ithaca and member of TCWC: “It’s just good economic sense to put money into the hands of the people who are working hard and will be spending it all over their communities to get the goods and services they need. There are few other single acts that would positively affect so many constituents and by extension the economy of the entire state.”
The TCWC turned out in force at the October 4th, 2014 State Wage Board Hearing in Syracuse, providing testimony from a number of tipped workers, as well as supportive community members who frequent restaurants in Tompkins County. In addition, the TCWC helped to motivate close to 200 letters in response to the DOL’s call for Public Comment that ended on 2/20/15 encouraging the Acting Commissioner Musolino to accept the Recommendations of the Wage Board.

“This is a serious step toward achieving a truly equitable wage structure,” said Pete Meyers, Coordinator of the Tompkins County Workers’ Center (TCWC).  The increase in the tipped worker minimum wage to $7.50 is long overdue and will help in efforts to end working poverty and rebuild a strong middle class in New York State.”
Eric Byrd, another pizza deliver driver for Papa John’s in Ithaca, says: “In most typical businesses, like the restaurant industry, personnel costs are ~25% of revenues.  What this means is that if personnel costs rise by 10%, revenues need to rise only 2.5%, to compensate for the additional expense.  And THIS means the immediate economic costs of a mandatory pay raise for tipped workers will be very small, compared with the boost to the spending power of the Working Class… but when workers have more money, it doesn’t take long for them to re-inject it BACK into the economy… and this is why, historically, increases in the minimum wage DO NOT result in long-term damage to the economy.”
The TCWC has argued and continues to believe that tipped workers even deserve a higher rate. TCWC’s position is that there should be no distinction between tipped workers and other workers – all should earn the minimum wage and that minimum wage should be a living wage. 
The full text of the Order of Acting Commissioner of Labor Mario J. Musolino on the Report
and Recommendations of the 2014 Hospitality Wage Board can be found at
For more information from the NYS Department of Labor itself, contact Director of Communications for the DOL, Chris White, at