Restaurant workers pushing back on proposal to raise wages

TIPPING CHANGES.transfer_frame_788.png

It is an idea that could change the dining experience for customers across New York.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed ending minimum wage tip credits, which means business owners would have to pay tipped employees the state minimum wage.

However, many in the industry said not so fast.

The New York Restaurant Association, several servers, managers and restaurant owners said they are going to push back against the proposal.

“I think it’s shameful. Unfortunate. A definite wrong move and it’s going to hurt a lot more people than it’s going to help," Vanessa Littles, server at Joey's Italian Restaurant, said.

Little has been a server for close to 20 years and has helped raise a family on her tips.

She said if she makes more money per hour, customers will tip less if at all.

"If it's not broken, do not fix it. We didn't ask for this," Littles said.

Workers is the industry said the proposal is not just bad for them - the customer will also lose out too.

Sam Dickson is restaurant manager.

He said paying servers more money means higher menu prices and staff cuts across the restaurant, which means fewer cooks and servers to ensure quality service.

“Your drinks won’t be refilled. Your plates won’t be cleared. It’s going to take longer. Everything is going to be slower," Sam Dickson, manager at Grimaldi's Luna Park, said.

The New York Restaurant Association said if the proposal is causing a lot of uncertainty for tipped employees.

“They feel like that their current pay system is working. That they’re happy paying their mortgages, car loans and college tuitions off what they’re currently earning. This could really disrupt things for them," Melissa Fleischut, president and CEO of the New York Restaurant Association, said.

Some restaurant workers said they will quit if the proposal goes through - adding to the shortage of employees in the restaurant industry.

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