2 restaurant owners I’d challenge

Since my days as an at-large faith community member of Portland Jobs with Justice in the late 1990’s, I’ve been a recepient of the weekly Oregon AFL-CIO Legislative Update.  Hot in the news is the effort to roll back the minimum wage, particularly for tip-earners.  These folks, primarily the 24,000 waitstaff and 25,000 bartenders, maids and porters, earn no more than minimum wage in Oregon (currently $7.25 adjusted for inflation) plus tips.  Two Portland based restaurant owners, Lisa Schroeder of Mother’s Bistro and Mama Mia Trattoria and Rod Brackenbury and Terry Hughes of the politico-popular Cadillac Cafe are leading the charge citing the high earnings of their servers as a reason why the legislature should freeze the pay for all minimum wage servers in Oregon.

Honestly I am appalled, but not suprised.  This was going on when I was an intern for Senator Joyce Cohen and Representative Kate Brown (now in the Senate) in 1993 and 1995.  In Colorado where I moved following graduation from the University of Oregon my housemate Yael earned $2.13/hour as a waitress which amounted to about 12 cents after taxes with the Tip Penalty Law similiar to what Oregon Republicans and Oregon Restaurant Association are lobbying for.

I am appalled because here you have two successful and probably above-average financially owners attempting to set policy that will ultimately affect thousands of workers in minimum wage (mind you not a ‘living wage’ which for Oregon is roughly $11/hour for a single person family) and cut their real income 10-20-30%.  Write yo legislator, it does make a difference (or call).

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One response to “2 restaurant owners I’d challenge

  1. Wow … waitstaff makes the same minimum wage as everyone else? I’ve honestly never heard of that (and I’ve been around for a while). I always assumed everyone waitperson in the world made around $2.00/hour plus tips. They are *so* lucky.

    I’ve never heard of a Tip Penalty Law; searching Google for it only returns your original message.

    That being said, the only valid argument the restaurants could have is that paying that wage makes them uncompetitive with other restaurants. And that’s not the case, of course, if every restaurant has to pay the miniumum wage.

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