“it doesn’t make sense that our waitresses are getting tips plus the highest minimum wage in the country”
Really? I mean, c'mon, really? Mininum wage in Oregon is only going to be $8.50 per hour next year. $8.50. Yet a former NBA player thinks that waitresses (his term) earn too much money because they get tips also. Wow. Really. Oh wait, that former NBA player is, of course, Chris Dudley, Oregon Republican Party’s nominee for governor.
I called around tonight to talk with some of my friends in the restaurant industry and tried to get an understanding of the amount of money they might make and compared it to an NBA player. The really good servers might get $200 in a day and work 4-5 shifts per week. $75,000 annually is high end for a server but $35,000-$50,000 is average. The NBA league minimum for a first year rookie is over $457,000 per year. Yet Chris Dudley thinks servers are getting paid to much.
A tip is a gratuity, not a wage. It's entirely voluntary, and given by the customer - not the employer - and it's certainly not guaranteed. It happens and is a risk of the business. $457,000 for your first year is guaranteed if you play in the NBA. Oh by the way if it’s slow, you face going home early and getting nothing but the minimum wage -- and good thing too, that's why it's called the minimum wage.. Did I mention that $457,000 is guaranteed if you play in the NBA? Oh by the way, the benefits most of us enjoy in many professions (health insurance and etc.) rarely exist for restaurant employees. So, shouldn't Oregonians guarantee a minimum wage for these workers like they do with all others? Have you ever worked as a waiter? I have. Do you know how much my average paycheck was? It’s been a long time so I don’t remember precisely but I don’t ever recall seeing a paycheck over $50 for a two week period because after taxes are taken out for your minimum wage and tips, that’s all that’s left (you get tips nightly of course).
I suppose an upside for a tip credit would be that restaurants could pay back of the house staff more. Raise your hand if you really think they would. Oh by the way, in states with lower minimum wages for service staff “sidework” includes a heck of a lot more. In these cases, servers end up doing some of the duties cooks and janitorial staff usually would since owners get away with paying a substandard wage. While it might equate to more jobs, the pay is substandard.
Oh and by the way, one of my waitstaff friends couldn’t resist and I can’t miss the opportunity to pass along that in addition to his support for their maintaining minimum wage, Governor Kitzhaber’s also a great tipper.