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30 Days of Love: 26/30

Posted by Jeremie Bateman // February 13th 2013 // soundings, Stories and Voices, youth // one comment

Most people don’t realize that there is a different minimum wage for employees who work for tips.  $2.13/hr is the federal tipped minimum wage, and has been since 1991.  Anything else they make during the course of their shifts comes from tips.

Until I worked in a restaurant over a summer break, I really didn’t realize this.  My assumption had been that tips were thanks for above and beyond service.  But in reality, they can be a server’s entire income if they’re only making the tipped minimum wage.  Since that summer, how I tip is fundamentally different.  But my personal tipping habits are only a small thing, compared to the ways in which we could advocate for a living wage for restaurant workers.

Some states have different minimums, coming closer to ensuring a living wage for restaurant workers, and some restaurants do pay above the minimum.   But others do not.  On 2/13, let’s be aware of $2.13 and do what we can to learn more and advocate for a living wage.

February 13, 2013. Share the wealth.

Money_diollar_bill_on_scale_iStock_000000972095XSmallStanding on the Side of Love has some suggestions for your daily action, including speaking to the manager of the restaurant when you go out to eat and helping put Behind the Kitchen Door on the bestseller list.

Other resources:

–  Behind the Kitchen Door, by Saru Jayaraman
–  Restaurant Opportunities Center United
Stand in Solidarity with Restaurant Workers” from the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (includes a restaurant pop quiz!)


About the Author

Jeremie Bateman is the Leadership Development Associate in the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at the UUA. He can be reached at jbateman@uua.org.
One Response to “30 Days of Love: 26/30”
  1. One more thing I learned when I also worked as waitstaff: You’re required to report the total of all your tabs (i.e. *everything you sell*) to the IRS, who figures your taxable income with the assumption that you are receiving 12% of that in tips. When those who choose to “punish” their waitstaff for bad service by tipping much less or even nothing at all, they are essentially expecting that waitstaff to PAY THE IRS for the privilege of serving them. No one’s income should be at the discretion and whim of the general public – even if it’s the general public they are serving. We need a better minimum wage for waitstaff! (and paid sick-days, too!)

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