Tipped Restaurant Workers Call On State For $15 Minimum Wage

$15 minimum wage
Photo credit Michael Sears/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Restaurant workers in New York City rallied on Monday against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “Fair Wage” plan, which they say is unfair and neglects tens of thousands of employees.

In 2016, Gov. Cuomo signed legislation enacting a statewide $15 minimum wage plan for most industries across the state. Over the years, annual increases have been rolled out, and since Dec. 31, 2019, the New York City minimum wage has been at $15 per hour.

Still, the rate for tipped food service workers has remained unchanged at $7.50 since Dec. 31, 2017.

On Monday, dozens of women took to the streets in the city to protest the unfair wages, as women make up more than half of all restaurant workers in the state.

“I just want to reiterate right now that a tip, is a tip, is a tip, it is a tip, it is not a wage,” said Nikki Cole with the One Fair Wage Campaign.

She says it is only fair that restaurant workers also receive minimum wage and tips.

The $15 minimum wage currently covers most New York City workers, including tipped nail salon employees, valet parking attendants, tow truck drivers and more.

Cole says while there are some restaurant workers who are satisfied with receiving sub-minimum wage and tips, it's only a small percentage.

“They work in the high end restaurants, the steak houses, where, you know, you are paying $40 for a steak,” she explains. “That doesn't mean everybody else needs to be held down cause a certain group of people are doing well.”

Gov. Cuomo’s office has no responded to a request for comment.