Opinion

Restaurants should cook up better wages for employees

If you’ve ever bought an iced coffee at Starbucks, you paid more for that drink than many restaurants pay their employees for an entire hour of work.

Many Americans know that the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. The tipped minimum wage, however, is $2.13 an hour, and the server makes the rest in tips. When you pay a tip, it isn’t just “hey-thanks-for-the-great-service-here’s-some-extra-cash,” you are paying the majority of your server’s income. If a server doesn’t make enough in tips to reach the $7.25 per hour wage, the restaurant must pay the difference.

Unfortunately, wage theft is commonplace. According to the Restaurant Opportunities Center United (ROC United), 21.8 percent of Miami-Dade’s restaurant workers experience minimum wage violations. That’s a lot of people who don’t get the amount of money they’re guaranteed by law to receive.

Seven of the nation’s 10 lowest paying jobs are in the food industry. These workers are three times as likely to live in poverty, and twice as likely to use public assistance as the general public. Millions of Americans who serve food to others can’t afford to provide food for their families.

How is this possible? In large part because the National Restaurant Association (NRA) that represents the interests of large corporate business and has lobbied both state and federal legislatures to ensure that the tipped minimum wage has not increased in over 20 years and that workers do not have the right to paid sick days.

As a college student, what can I do?

We, as consumers, need to let restaurant managers and owners know that we value high road practices like livable wages, internal career advancement and paid sick days. The industry won’t change unless we demand it.

We can also support restaurants that already treat their employees well. ROC United has a Diners’ Guide that rates restaurants based on their practices. You can download the guide online at rocunited.org/dinersguide, or get the app on your phone. Supporting these ethical restaurants shows the rest of the industry that it’s possible to pay your employees fair wages and maintain fair work environments while still staying afloat.

The final thing we can do is contact our elected representatives. If you think that the tipped minimum wage should be raised from $2.13 an hour, tell someone. Let your representatives know that you care about how much restaurant workers get paid and how they are treated.

 

Jacqueline Nye is a senior majoring in international studies, economics and politics.

December 8, 2013

Reporters

Jacqueline Nye


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Jesus Luzardo had yet to throw a single pitch as a professional baseball player in 2016 when he unde ...

Former Miami Hurricanes quarterback Robert Marve has been arrested in Hillsborough County on an out- ...

Mark Richt has led the Miami Hurricanes back into the national college football conversation during ...

University of Miami coach Mark Richt and his vaunted 2018 signing class, nicknamed #Storm18, should ...

Part four of a five-part series on UM’s defense with the start of fall camp a month away: Cornerback ...

A School of Communication associate professor played an important hand—an artistic one!—in World Cup ...

University of Miami law and political science professors weigh in on Trump’s SCOTUS nominee. ...

Research bioclimatologists with the UM Synoptic Climatology Lab counsel cities on how to manage risi ...

A UM-led study is examining how children’s play behavior at beaches could impact their health. ...

Political polarization, distrust in fact-based knowledge and verbal targeting may be fueling the ons ...

University of Miami head volleyball coach Jose "Keno" Gandara announced the additions of K ...

Three-time CSCAA Honorable Mention All-American diver Wally Layland and two-time ITA All-American te ...

Miami head women's tennis coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews announced Thursday the signing of two more ...

University of Miami head football coach Mark Richt was among the 20 coaches selected to the preseaso ...

Miami opens the Wooden Legacy against La Salle on Thanksgiving Day in Fullerton, Calif. ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.