This one almost got by me. Bundled up in the Paris Hilton Relief Bill (you know, the one that couples billions in cuts to the inheritance tax with a paltry increase in the federal minimum wage) is a really nifto proviso that will allow restaurant and bar owners (and I suppose any other place where workers get tips) to pay less than the minimum wage, as long as the total compensation per hour comes up to at least the minimum wage.
It came as a surprise to me that employers in so many other states have been allowed to do this already, but this bill, if passed, will codify it into federal law, and the seven states that have decided to pay tipped workers the minimum wage regardless of tips will have to conform.
Those states are Montana, Alaska, Minnesota, Oregon, Nevada, California and Washington. Waitresses, bartenders, hairdressers, etc., will end up making less money at the end of the day than they make now. The Seattle Times ran an article today illustrating the dilemma faced by this state's food service workers:
In Seattle on Wednesday afternoon, Melody Swett, a server at the Westin Hotel, was among 100 members of various labor groups rallying against the bill in front of the Executive Inn, a couple of blocks from the Space Needle.And of course the meaty hands of the restaurant industry are all over this one, backed by their high-priced lobbyist/whore/asshole, Rick Berman.
Swett, 56, has been working at the Westin for 31 years. Last year, she said, she earned about $35,000 in wages and tips. She said that when tourists are in town during the summer she could earn $100 or, occasionally, $200 a night in tips. In the winter months, she said, tips could drop to $5, $10 or $20 a night. The bartenders and runners bringing food get a 20 percent share of the tip money.
"If they get this bill passed, it'll cut my wages per month by over $900," she said. "Can you see the problem in that?"
Now it seems to me that these fuckers ought to really consider what they are doing. These assholes eat out in restaurants, banquets, etc. a lot. If they manage to ramrod this piece-of-shit legislation through and all of a sudden the people who are serving them their food are making a lot less money because of what they did... Well, I used to work in a pizza restaurant in my youth, and I can tell you from personal experience the last thing you want to do is piss off the person who is handling your food.
Just an observation, of course...
Special thanks to nunya over at Politickybitch for the heads up on this.