URGENT: Action needed to raise the tipped wage

The NYS Wage Board has issued its recommendations on the tipped wage, including a raise to 7.50 an hour on December 31st. Although it's not the full minimum wage that we had hoped for, it would be an unprecedented increase. So the business lobby is pushing back hard. We need to show our support to ensure that 1/4 million workers get the raise they desperately need!

It is now up to the Acting Commissioner of Labor to issue a Wage Order to lift up the fate of NY's 229,000 tipped workers. We must drive as many comments as possible to: wageboard@labor.ny.gov


Dear Acting Commissioner Musolino,

I write to ask that you issue a wage order that enacts recommendations A-D of the Wage Board and rejects recommendation E. In particular, the wage order should enact recommendation D and look for ways to eliminate the sub-minimum tipped wage.

While stopping short of full elimination, the recommendation to raise the tipped wage to $7.50 on Dec. 31, 2015 is a significant step forward that translates into increased housing stability, food security, and basic human dignity for a quarter million New Yorkers - anything less would be unconscionable. However, the unenforceable, unwieldy recommendation allowing employers to pay a lesser wage if employees reportedly meet a certain tipped threshold effectively brings the minimum back down to an extreme poverty wage and guts the proposed increase. It is irrational, without precedent nationally and undermines the Board’s other recommendations. It is nothing more than a subsidy to more profitable restaurant employers.

Additional wage board recommendations including merging the two existing tipped tiers into one, adding $1 for New York City tipped workers should legislators raise New York City's minimum wage, and pursuing full elimination of the tipped wage are to be commended. Significantly raising the wage for tipped workers is long overdue.

The Acting Commissioner must make every effort to extend the full state minimum wage to tipped workers and raise wages for 229,000 servers and hospitality industry workers around the state, who are disproportionately women and who suffer from more than double the poverty rate of the workforce as a whole. Gov. Andrew Cuomo should support the commissioner in this. Full elimination of the sub-minimum tipped wage enjoys broad popular support, has been implemented with success in seven other states, and is the right thing to do for NY's tipped wage earners.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely, NAME