A union-backed group aiming to kill New York’s tip credit has set up a hotline for servers who believe they’ve been sexually harassed, had their wages stolen, or abused by co-workers or guests.
The group, One Fair Wage, argues that these problems are fueled by the tipping model, since customers can withhold tips, a large portion of server revenue, at will. They argue that servers cannot afford to alienate a customer acting inappropriately and are open to retaliation if they complain about a boss or co-worker.
One Fair Wage argued that requiring restaurants to pay servers directly the full minimum wage will reduce servers’ reliance on tips and maintain customer favour.
He says the hotline is needed now that New York Governor Kathy Hochul has refused to support legislation that would ban state tip credit.
“She refused to act – and so we act ourselves”, Saru Jayaraman, chairman of One Fair Wage, said in a statement.
The setup will also allow One Fair Wage to collect the kind of upsetting stories it has used in the past to paint tip credit as an eyesore for servers and bartenders. In these accounts, workers were mistreated rather than take a cut of their tips.
The number is 646-470-9113.
Under New York law, waiters, bartenders and other tip employees are entitled to an hourly wage of at least $13.20 in most parts of the state and a minimum of $15 s they work in Long Island or Westchester. Restaurant owners are required to pay $8.80 of the state minimum in cash or $10 of the hourly wage of Long Island and Westchester workers if the recipient earns enough tips to bring them up to the mandatory minimum scale. If the bonuses received are not sufficient, the employer is required to make up the shortfall.
One Fair Wage wants employers to pay the full minimum wage, and tipped workers would be free to keep any money they collect as tips.
The group receives at least some of its funding from the Service Employees International Union, the second largest labor organization in the country.
Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all our content. Register here.