• Restaurants Demand State Freeze Servers’ Wage

    February 25, 2016 // 12 Comments »

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    More Americans work for less than minimum wage than work for minimum wage. They are the people who occupy tipped positions, mostly working as servers in restaurants.


    They fall outside the minimum wage, and thus do not have even the weak assurances of an income the minimum provides. And those tips — they are great at some swanky joints, weak at lesser ones. Tips ebb and flow, depending on the weather (rain and snow can keep customers home), cheapo patrons and which shift one pulls; daytime Tuesday is not as good as Saturday night. Or a four top who orders wine with each course, or that family on vacation who “just wants ice water.” Your income depends as much on luck as anything you do with your time and labor.

    Or here’s one strategy that does not depend on luck: encourage your waitresses to dress sexy, such as at Hooter’s, to pull in more tips, mixing sexual exploitation with exploitation of wages.

    And save the speech about how all these folks should go out and get a different job if they don’t like the system. Almost two million Americans work below minimum, and they do not have access to two million currently available, better paying, jobs.

    But from the restaurant owner’s side, the deal is sweeeeeeeeeet. They get to pay subminimum wage, and leave it up to the customers to make up their payroll. And if the customer stiffs the waiter, that’s no skin off the owner’s nose. And of course some owner’s skim the tips, and/or require servers to share their tips with the back of the house kitchen staff, diluting a small amount of money further.



    The owners have no interest in having the government mess with that solid gold system if it can be helped.

    As an example, New York state’s hourly minimum wage for tipped workers rose from $5.00 to $7.50 on January 1 (standard, non-tipped, minimum wage is $9.00 an hour in the state), much to the dismay of the New York State Restaurant Association. The restaurant owners lobbying group sent a letter to NY Governor Andrew Cuomo demanding that he freeze the tipped wage for five years. This letter comes just weeks after the National Restaurant Association filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court, claiming that Cuomo’s plan to raise the minimum wage further by 2018 is part of a longstanding pattern of discrimination “against the hard working men and women that own New York’s restaurants.”

    Implied is a hearty “up yours to the working men and women that work in New York’s restaurants.”


    Oh, and by the way, want to know if your favorite restaurant owner supports the freeze? You can’t. The Restaurant Association’s letter had more then 100 restaurant owners included as signatories. However, the Association will not release the names of the signatories because restaurateurs who have taken “political stances” in the past “have received death threats.” So it’s a safety issue. Right.

    Employers should be responsible for paying their own employees, not relying on customers to hand over cash just to keep serfs servers on the job.



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    Posted in #99Percent, Economy, Minimum Wage

    Same as It Ever Was

    June 2, 2011 // Comments Off on Same as It Ever Was

    The always prescient Iraq Oil Report has come up with yet another reason Iraq is unlikely to become a major oil exporter anytime soon: laws preventing oil workers from organizing have created a situation of work stoppages met with retaliation. This does not promote the extraction of petroleum.

    For those who still contend getting rid of the evil dictator made everything happy in Iraq, Iraqi workers in the public sector still are forbidden from forming unions not controlled by the state, a regulation remaining from the Saddam Hussein era. Freedumb!

    Iraq is a signatory to international workers rights agreements, and the 2005 constitution called for a new labor law that lies dormant in the moribund political process. Oil workers went out and formed unions anyway. The oil unions have stopped production here and there and have held rallies over pay and treatment. In response, they have been targeted by security forces and members have had warrants issued for their arrest or been relocated to areas away from their families.

    This new birth of freedom in Iraq clearly justifies the sacrifices Americans have made, right? Makes you kinda wish we did get some oil for blood.

    For more, see Twelve Reasons Iraq will not be a Major Oil Exporter.



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    Posted in #99Percent, Economy, Minimum Wage

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