Workers rally ahead of tip credit proposal public hearing

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Workers and business owners chanted outside Erie Community College’s city campus in downtown Buffalo with this message: save the tip credit.

“My main income is through my tips,” said Kay Clifton, server and bartender.

Kay Clifton drove all the way from Long Island overnight to make sure her voice would be heard here in Buffalo today.

“It hurts us a lot more than it would ever help us. Right now leave it how it is, we don’t want it, we don’t need it,” said Clifton.

Some restaurant workers and business owners say Governor Cuomo’s proposal to end minimum wage tip credits in New York state would have a negative ripple effect.

“As an owner it is going to be a severe financial hardship for me to endure which I will have to pass along to my customers in the form of raising prices,” said Zoi Christanis, who owns a restaurant and bar in Rochester.

Some believe this will lead to not only a higher cost of food, but cut positions and lower service.

“What would then promote you to tip me if I literally can’t take care of everyone the way I take care of you now why would you tip me the same way,” said Maggie Raczynski, bartender and Supporters of the Tip Credit in New York founder.

People in favor of the Governor’s proposal believe wages should be more stable in the food sevice industry.

“Reliance on tips is absolutley a major part of why we need to see an increase in wages but this isn’t about getting rid of tips, this is about stable wages with tips on top,” said Colin O’Malley, former bartender and Metro Justice Organizing Director.

“Even research done by the National Restaurant Association that consumers are actually in favor of raising the minimum wage for tipped workers and would be willing to pay more if that is what it comes down to,” said Catherine Barnett, Restaurant Opportunity Center.
 

Today’s hearing in downtown Buffalo is the 4th of 7 public hearings that have been scheduled throughout the state.

For more background information on the proposal, go to the following link: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-unveils-5th-proposal-2018-state-state-examine-eliminating-minimum-wage-tip

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