Why We Should Eliminate the Tipped Minimum Wage

By Amanda Kludt

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of attending a screening of the film Waging Change and speaking on the following panel at the Ford Foundation for Social Justice (note to architecture buffs: the atrium is everything it’s hyped up to be). The film follows organizers (including Jane Fonda and AOC!) fighting to eliminate the sub-minimum wage, also known as the tipped minimum or the “slave wage,” across America, and coming up against the powerful restaurant lobbying group the National Restaurant Association.

I think many casual restaurantgoers don’t realize that tipped workers get a different base pay than everyone else and mostly live off of customer tips. If they do know about the sub-minimum wage, they might not understand all of the inherent problems with it. First, if the worker doesn’t make enough tips in a given week, their bosses aren’t always making up the difference, as required by law. Wage theft is rampant in the restaurant industry, and the onus is on the worker to make sure their bosses are making their paychecks whole.

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