Working class means everyone


To the editor:

As I write this letter, it is not clear if Gov. Kathy Hochul and the state legislature will do the decent and honorable thing for tipped restaurant workers when they finally complete the new state budget.

Since our state last raised the minimum wage for everyone else, those for tipped restaurant workers have dropped 25 percent.

As a Democratic voter, it’s frustrating to watch our lawmakers repeatedly exclude these workers. The Democratic Party is supposed to be a champion for working people.

We all hope restaurants will fully recover from the pandemic. That won’t happen if our politicians once again cave to corporate lobbyists and keep restaurant work as a second-class profession. One-in-five workers have left the industry seeking more reliable pay.

Having a “bad night of tips” can be devastating for a restaurant worker. When income is dependent on tips the difference between working in an expensive restaurant and working in a small a small diner can mean the difference between financial stability and struggle.

When the state budget is passed, it should raise the current minimum wage to $21.25 and end the sub-minimum wage. Restaurant workers deserve a living wage they can count on, with tips on top.

But, that will not have happened if Gov. Hochul and the legislature value corporate interests more than restaurant workers.

Gene Binder

Gene Binder, tips, restaurant workers, Gov. Kathy Hochul