Several restaurants across the US have done away with tipping – causing quite a bit of chatter regarding the institution of tipping and the restaurant industry at large. While we are definitely for restaurants that do away with tipping in favor of a stable and livable wage, the restaurant industry is too large to depend on the voluntary elimination of poverty wages and unsustainable labor standards. The tipped minimum wage has been frozen at $2.13 per hour since 1991. The vast majority of servers don’t work at high-end restaurants, they work at Red Lobster, Olive Garden, and IHOPs across the country. Tips aren’t just something extra to reward or incentivize good service, that tip is the majority of a server’s wage — making or breaking the difference between being able to afford rent and groceries. In fact, servers use food stamps at double the rate of the rest of the US workforce, and are three times as likely to live in poverty, which is exactly why we need to legislate a livable wage that doesn’t exclude tipped workers.
Our co-director, Saru Jayaraman, chatted with some correspondents from The Today Show on the prospect of eliminating tips. Watch the entire segment, and her brief clip below:
Interested in more about tipping?
– Check out The New York Times’ “Room For Debate” – To Tip or Not to Tip here
– Meet some of the folks behind the kitchen door, like Nakima, here
– Our forebearers originally viewed tipping as antithetical to American democratic ideals
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