Chasse Gunter, a server assistant from Seattle, WA, explains how he’s seen firsthand One Fair Wage benefit not only his life, but restaurant workers across the state. Read his entire statement below.
“My name is Chasse Gunter and I’m from Seattle Washington. I’m currently a server assistant. I’ve worked in back and front of house positions for a little more than five years.
In Washington, the minimum wage differs by location and employer size, but it’s the same for tipped and non-tipped workers. I’ve seen the industry grow as wages have increased. When I was a dishwasher 5 years ago, the minimum wage was, I think, at $11 per hour, and then $13 per hour when I was a line cook. With tips, now, I always get $18 to $30 an hour as a busser and server. And most people I know are paid even more. The demand for work is so high I have to turn down jobs every week and all my former employers have me out there recruiting for them. The competition for workers is fiercer now than the competition for customers.
The seven states that have enacted one fair wage have all shown a much stronger job growth than the non-one-fair-wage states. It isn’t fair that employers in some sectors get away with paying employees less than the minimum wage and customers paying the rest. Imagine paying a nurse assistant’s two thirds of her wages on your way out of the hospital. Unthinkable!
Today I make $15 an hour and we have a service charge. As a busser, I get the smallest portion of the 20-percent automatic gratuity and it still rounds out to $18 or more an hour. It’s around $30 per hour for the servers. I also get medical and dental and 401K and paid vacation. We have customer lines bigger than people to cook and serve them–the business is that strong.
My pay still fluctuates, but it goes between pretty good and great. We have a required base pay that’s decent and makes planning and paying bills easier. I want that good life for everyone.”