Hollywood celebrities champion higher wages for waitresses who say 'no thanks'

Several Hollywood celebrities are pushing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to eliminate the wage difference between hourly employees and tipped workers like waitresses and bartenders.

Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Williams, Amy Poehler and Amy Schumer are among the more prominent actresses pushing the proposal.

But, not suprisingly the waitresses have written a letter to the celebrities, telling them "no thanks."

New York Times:

Waitresses and other servers are resisting the proposal, saying they can make more money from tips and do not need celebrities to help protect them from harassment.

Harassment is a real concern, they say, but so is the need to earn a living.

“The resounding message from servers in New York to these actresses in Hollywood is to just leave us alone,” said Maggie Raczynski, a bartender at an Outback Steakhouse in upstate New York. “These celebrities have literally no idea. I feel like they need to butt out.”

The state Department of Labor has held hearings around the state for the last year, but Cuomo is reluctant to pull the trigger and support the legislation that would eliminate the different minimum wage for tipped employees.

There's a very good reason why waitresses and others want Hollywood and the state government to butt out:

In New York City, many servers at busy restaurants and bars earn more than enough in tips to push their hourly wage well above the $15 minimum. “The best-paid people in the restaurant are the servers and the bartenders,” said Jeremy Merrin, the owner of four Havana Central restaurants, including one in Times Square. “My servers make well in excess of $20 an hour.”

Tending tables or mixing drinks has traditionally been a reliable means of survival for aspiring actors and actresses or a steady way to pay the bills between gigs. Raising wages for tipped workers, many waitresses say, could threaten an economic lifesaver if it forces restaurants to change tipping policies or, worse, puts them out of business.

Maybe if the celebrities, who make millions of dollars a year, would be more generous to their waitresses when they go out to eat, there wouldn't be this kind of resentment:

Ms. Raczynski said she was angered by a letter sent to Mr. Cuomo by Hollywood celebrities including Ms. Poehler, Reese Witherspoon and Natalie Portman. The actresses urged the governor to eliminate the lower minimum wage for servers because they said it created a “work environment where customers feel entitled to abuse women in exchange for service.”

The servers fired back in a letter to the actresses, saying, “Thank you for your concern. But we don’t need your help and we’re not asking to be saved.”

Most restaurants I've worked in - and there have been a few - employed waitresses who were perfectly capable of handling the odd piggish man who would make leering suggestions of what she had to do for a good tip. The best waitresses are unobtrusive, efficient, and get everybody's order right the first time. Even skinflints who only leave a 10% tip augment a server's income beyond whatever phony minimum wage liberals decree.

I like the attitude of the waitresses toward the celebrities; "we don't need your help."


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