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Tips Versus Minimum Wage

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28)  The next time a waitress or waiter brings a plate to your table, take a guess at how much they earn an hour.  In the world of senior specials, surf and turf and all you can eat fish, its sort of a trick question. Thats because your server doesnt even know what theyll take home on any given day. 

In all but a few states, the person waiting your table is paid below the minimum wage, sometimes just $2.13 an hour.  In Iowa its set at $4.35.  Its assumed, by the Department of Labor, that tips will boost that pay past the $7.25 minimum wage.  But analysts say waitresses and waiters are three times more likely to live below the poverty level.

That has some lawmakers, including Iowa Senator Tom Harkin pushing for reforms to increase the basic wage for the so called Tipping jobs.

On a breezy Sunday afternoon in the Newbo Neighborhood, Reporter Matt Hammill asked for your thoughts on the ritual that has so many people trying to figure out 15, 20 or 25 percent of their bill at the end of a restaurant meal.

 Bri says she used to work as a waitress and she knows first-hand that some people could use the extra cash, I think it would be great if they raised it.  I mean, when you have to rely on peoples tips basically to live, it can be tough.  Some people dont like to tip as much as it takes some people to live off of.   

The Restaurant Association says with tips, many servers actually make over the minimum wage and employers make up the difference if they dont.  Some servers argue neither of those statements is true.  On our Facebook page this topic really touched a nerve.  Rooster warns, Minimum wage goes up .. service goes down.   Kate posts, as a waitress, I do not support $10 an hour, but I feel all workers deserve at least minimum wage.   James writes, I tip, but dont expect me to pay your wages, Im not your boss.  And Carol posts, 45 years as a waitress and proud of my profession.  Ashamed of those who dont feel we deserve a living wage.
Back in Newbo some of you tell us you feel obligated to help servers with tips, to the point of being pressured, because you know servers need the help.  But Tammy tells us she believes that level of understanding is the exception, not the rule, for an issue that has such a dramatic impact on so many families, Its not a very well-known fact that people are working for these sorts of wages that are not in line with the cost of living.  

This issue brought nearly 100 comments on our Facebook page, you can still offer your thoughts by clicking on the Facebook icon at the bottom of this page.
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