Amid another debate over a local minimum wage, a question seldom asked: Why not get rid of tipping altogether?

MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
During a presentation in St. Paul in January, Saru Jayaraman, cofounder of the Restaurant Opportunities Center and director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California-Berkeley, acknowledged the contradiction in one-wage camp.

A year ago, the loudest argument in the debate over creating a local minimum wage in Minneapolis was over tips. Now St. Paul is looking to institute a local minimum wage, and again the loudest argument is over tips.

And while those who want all workers to be on the same wage scale — a campaign its backers are calling One Fair Wagemany tipped workers in the restaurant industry fear that without a tip credit, they might lose their tips, their jobs — or both.

The St. Paul City Council is expected to resolve the dispute by this fall. But somewhere beneath the rhetoric is another topic that hasn’t generated nearly as much conversation: tip culture itself. That is, the strangeness of having one class of worker — restaurant servers and bartenders — receive so much of their pay not from a boss but directly from the customer. 

After all, if tipping is connected to the social ills that opponents of a tip credit argue it does — from a troubling racial history to the encouragement of sexual harassment — how does a system that retains tipping in restaurants address those issues? Shouldn’t the argument be over getting rid of the practice of tipping altogether?

The local debate

Tip credits are a way of setting a lower hourly wage for tipped workers with the idea that they’ll make up the difference in tips. While Minnesota is one of seven that doesn’t have a tip credit in its state minimum wage, a local minimum wage could allow restaurants to require servers to count their tips to make up the difference between the state minimum hourly wage of $9.50 and whatever wage the cities require. Under this system, if tips were not adequate to fill the gap, the employer would be legally obligated to cover that difference.

Restaurant owners and many of their servers argue that the margins in restaurants are so narrow that owners might not be able to remain profitable if they have to start tipped workers at the higher hourly rate. They also say the bigger issue is getting so-called back-of-the-house workers — cooks, dishwashers and other non-tipped staff — higher pay, not servers, many of whom who do plenty well with tips.

In fact, full-service restaurants would likely have to pay servers well above minimum wage in order to keep their best producers, though their pay would likely be somewhat less — though more predictable — than they could make with tips added in.

Opponents of the tip credit, however, say not all servers do as well as those in higher-scale restaurants. They also point to instances where owners do not make up the difference or where tipped workers are assigned to tasks where tips are not generated, yet still get the lower hourly wage.

Arguments pro and con were evident during the debate over Minneapolis’ local minimum wage. The politics of the issue made it unlikely council members would support a tip credit, but the fact that Minnesota does not permit a tip credit in the state minimum wage law was the primary reason that city staff recommended that no tip credit be included in the city ordinance.

If St. Paul follows Minneapolis’ lead, a move that would put pressure on other cities in the region to follow suit, would a move away from tips ultimately be the result?

The politics of tipping

For backers of One Fair Wage, who oppose a tip credit, the politics of the issue are complicated. While they might wish for a world without restaurant tips, they’d rather not talk about it all that much.

That’s because the threat of a loss or reduction of tips is one of the motivating factors for the restaurant workers who’ve organized in favor of city tip credits. And anything that exacerbates the fear of lost income for restaurant workers hurts local minimum wage backers, a group that in Minnesota has been led by the Restaurant Opportunities Center, $15 Now, and unions such as the Service Employees International Union.

During a presentation in St. Paul in January, Saru Jayaraman, cofounder of the Restaurant Opportunities Center and director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California-Berkeley, acknowledged the contradiction in one-wage camp.

While she sees tipping culture as disturbing on many levels, she’s also careful not to empower tip-credit proponents, which are led by what she termed “the other NRA” — the National Restaurant Association.

“We’ve watched that whole idea — that tips are going to go away if wages go up,” Jayaraman said. “We’ve watched the Restaurant Association over the last several years develop that idea and develop the fear around that idea.”

She acknowledges that tips aren’t going away anytime soon and says there are advantages to moving away from a two-tiered wage system: one that relies on tips for basic pay and one with a single minimum wage supplemented by tips. She points to data that suggests tips do not go down in states without tip credits, and that reports of sexual harassment are lower in the seven states without tip credits.

Other models

At the same time activists have been campaigning to end tip credits, there have also been attempts to try different pay models for restaurants. One of those is to have eateries add a service charge to all tabs. Though the money is retained by the owner, it is often used to increase pay rates for servers who previously received tips and to raise wages for back-of-the-house employees, such as cooks and dishwashers.

“The disadvantage we see is that if service charges are not regulated by law, [and] we have seen unscrupulous employers do unscrupulous things with service charges,” Jayaraman said. “Others make sure the entire 20 percent or 17 percent goes to workers but who provide a very detailed, transparent outline of how that money is spent.”

There’s also the “hospitality included” model. “The same way you walk into Macy’s and you buy something and the cost you pay for that perfume or whatever includes the cost of the person who served you who showed you the different perfumes; … the cost of the rent,” said Jayaraman said. “It includes everything. It’s all included. That’s how other customer-service businesses do it.”

Jayaraman said one of the benefits of the system is that it eliminates the power of customers who think they can harass servers because they control so much of their income. “The customer is not king,” she said.

New York restaurant owner Danny Meyer  is perhaps the most prominent practitioner of abolishing tipping. In an op-ed in The Washington Post about the move, he wrote: “We did it to decrease the pay gap between servers and cooks and to provide transparency into the true cost of operating a restaurant,” Meyer wrote. “More significantly, we did it to provide our employees with the professionalism that is standard in most other industries.”

Still, Jayaraman said others who have experimented with non-tipping models ultimately returned to tipping. “We’re not there yet,” she said of any changes to the tipping model.

“We just want to make sure everyone gets a wage. It seems like a very simple first step.”

Dan Swenson-Klatt, who owns Butter Bakery Cafe in south Minneapolis, is a member of  an offshoot of ROC that represents restaurant owners called RAISE. 

“It’s always been the organization’s stance publicly to say that you don’t have to be there yet but we want to get there,” he said.

Getting rid of tip credits and subminimum wages is the first step. “Removing that credit is their first line of importance in getting to no tips,” he said. “At the heart of RAISE is a culture in a restaurant industry that doesn’t need to have tipping as a way to pay people.”  

The Seattle example

Seattle was the first large city in the country to create a higher minimum wage. Because it was first, and because the outcome wasn’t certain, the city allowed smaller restaurants — separate restaurants and restaurant groups with fewer than 500 employees —to have a tip credit. But the credit phases out in January of 2020.

Dan Swenson-Klatt
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
Dan Swenson-Klatt had been a teacher before deciding to start Butter Bakery Cafe 12 years ago in his Kingfield neighborhood of Minneapolis.

The different rules for restaurants in Seattle has resulted in several different models for compensating restaurant workers. Smaller restaurants still eligible for tip credits have made few changes to their tipping practices. But larger groups have been shifting to a service charge model by which a flat charge is added to bills. While some also include tip lines on their credit card slips, others do not. Unlike tips, which by law stay with the server, service charges go to the owner.

The spread of service charges was part of the reason unions and worker groups in Washington pushed for a successful statewide initiative in 2016 to increase the minimum wage and require paid sick leave. The initiative attempts to regulate service charges by requiring disclosure on menus and receipts the percentage of the bill that goes “directly to the employee or employees serving the customer.”

And yet, one Seattle restaurant owner who had not yet moved to service charges said the initiative language would be easy to get around. “What if a restaurant, which is currently paying sick days, health insurance and meals on top of wages just says ‘all service charges go to the benefit of the servers’ and then uses that money to make up for tips, but also to cover those expenses, thus lowering the employee benefit costs per hour,” the owner said.

Instituting a service charge model in Minnesota would also not be without complications. Joel O’Malley, a labor and employment law attorney with the firm Nilan Johnson Lewis, said state administrative code allows a restaurant to impose a service charge. But it also requires that the restaurant must inform the customer on menus and bills that “the charge is not a gratuity.”

“If the restaurant wants to keep the service charge and do with it what it wants or distribute it the way it wants to … the service charge has to meet certain statutory requirements,” O’Malley said. The purpose is to inform customers that the money “is being kept by the restaurant and doesn’t belong to the servers themselves.”

Right now, the state even dictates the size of the font to be used to make such declarations. But what if — as in Seattle — a restaurant would simply argue that the money flows to the servers because it is used for pay and benefits?

O’Malley said such questions fall into a gray area, since the section of law has never been litigated. “There’s been no testing like you would expect in other areas of law of what sorts of language you can get away with and how far you can push it.”

A long way into the future

Because the phase-in period for the Minneapolis wage is so lengthy — employers with fewer than 100 workers won’t have to pay $15 until the summer of 2024 — there is less incentive to change tipping models. A few restaurants have moved to non-tipping pay models, though mostly because of philosophical, not economic, reasons.

Danny Schwartzman, who owns Common Roots Cafe in the Wedge neighborhood of Minneapolis, is active in the Main Street Alliance, which advocates for progressive economic policies. Like Swenson-Klatt, he made the switch to non-tipped employees a year ago. “I just decided to make the leap and go fully tip free,” Schwartzman said. “It was a scary thing but for me it was the right thing to do.”

He increased prices about 15 percent, with the intent of paying his employees at least $15 an hour, keeping health benefits and vacation and still making the business work.

Danny Schwartzman
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
Danny Schwartzman, who owns Common Roots Cafe in the Wedge neighborhood of Minneapolis, is active in the Main Street Alliance, which advocates for progressive economic policies.

Swenson-Klatt had been a teacher before deciding to start Butter Bakery Cafe 12 years ago in his Kingfield neighborhood of Minneapolis, and he partners with Nicollet Square and Beacon Interfaith Housing to train and employ young adults transitioning from foster care and homelessness.

He said it was natural for him to consider issues such as higher pay and benefits for lower-paid workers. But he still needs to make a profit. Working with his employees, Swenson-Klatt calculated that tips provided about 10 t0 13 percent of his workers’ pay, with more going to counter workers than to cooks, bakers and dishwashers. That information was what he used to calculate an increase in prices. Despite some confusion, customers have been supportive.

As he reaches the first anniversary of the change, Swenson-Klatt now realizes he fell a little short in calculating the pricing he needed to charge for food and drinks, and will make some price adjustments.

“We got close, but in the end we came up just a wee bit short; it just wasn’t the right set of numbers,” he said. “In the 12 years I’ve been doing this I have always told the staff there are points in the life of this business that it’s worth risking a bit of a loss to get to the next place.”

In an industry where the norm is low margins, Schwartzman said there’s a lot of motivation to keep costs as low as possible. “That’s the model and there are a lot of good people within it who are trying to do something different,” he said. “But that’s what everyone is competing against. In that reality, changing anything is certainly noticeable. Big picture: It would be great to see an industry where we’re competing on a level playing field and everyone is pricing-in a basic standard of living for employees. But that’s seeing a long way into the future.”

Both Swenson-Klatt and Schwartzman acknowledge that their counter-service restaurants present different, somewhat simpler, challenges than those that would face the owner of a full-service restaurant.

Indeed, only a few table service restaurants in the Twin Cities have tried — and at least three have returned to traditional tipping system. The sibling restaurants Upton 43 and Victory 44 tried a hospitality-included model in 2016 but reverted to tipping only a few months later.  More recently, Bardo restaurant opened with a service charge model, but then switched to a plus-tip model.

MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
The no-tip message on display at the counter in the Butter Bakery Cafe.

“Though this original model was ultimately quite effective and most workable for the restaurant and its bottom line, we considered it in the best interest of our employees and guests to change to more socially standardized system,” wrote Bardo general manager Morgan Hawley.

Schwartzman said he’d like to see customers who agree his values make dining decisions with that in mind, even if he knows that might be wishful thinking. “That unfortunately isn’t what people think about when they think about going out to eat.”

Comments (31)

  1. Submitted by Peter Olsen on 03/05/2018 - 11:26 am.

    Minumum wage

    Its not $9.50 its $9.87. 5th paragraph.

    • Submitted by Don Jorovsky on 03/05/2018 - 05:31 pm.

      Current statewide minimum wage

      Just to clarify — It is not $9.50, it is $9.65 as of Jan 1, 2018. That’s for most MN businesses. For those small enough to qualify (under $500,000 in annual gross revenue), it just went from $7.75 to $7.87 on Jan 1, 2018 (that’s probably where Peter Olsen got the “87” part above). Thanks.

  2. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 03/05/2018 - 11:38 am.

    A simple approach

    Times have to go. The quality of the meal is a result of tge whole team. Ban tips, up wages and report average wages by employee category, along with how many employees in a category. For those who want workers decently paid, that allows the customer to evaluate fairness. And employers who steal tips, redistribute them and keep a share for management, the customer should know that too!

  3. Submitted by Baron Topor on 03/05/2018 - 11:46 am.

    Not No Tip?

    No tipping at all is not acceptable. People want to reward good service, and it is necessary for customers to have a relationship with servers and to be able to use tips to comment on their service. Servers must receive the same wage as any other worker. They spend most of their time laboring at sidework. But if they receive $10-15 an hour, then tipping can go back to a reasonable 10-15%, and make dining out less of a burden on the customer. Too many servers expect at least 20% tips for doing very little, and too many restaurants design the service so that they are doing too little. There is no need for runners. A server should only be assisted by a busser, and take and serve drink and food orders and most importantly, make sure the food is acceptably prepared, and then enjoyed. But they should never be expected to recite “specials.” If they’re special, print them on a page. There’s nothing more destructive to an enjoyable night out with friends than to have the excited first conversation interrupted and destroyed by a server who must recite a list of specials one can never remember.
    In countries with no tipping, the service is famous for being indifferent to intolerable.

    • Submitted by Brian Gandt on 03/05/2018 - 02:25 pm.

      No Tipping in Australia

      And a living wage instead, at least in NSW, where I lived for two years(2007-2009). Little to no difference from service here in the States.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 03/05/2018 - 02:32 pm.

      Mr. Hooper?

      Lower down Mr. Hooper says he’s actually been to countries where tipping was not the practice. So, Mr. Hooper, what was your experience? Was it intolerable or indifferent?

  4. Submitted by John Ferman on 03/05/2018 - 12:19 pm.

    Tipping

    I have always considered tipping as a reward for better than normal service. Without a tip what incentive does a server have to go above and beyond?

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 03/05/2018 - 02:29 pm.

      Why Just Wait Staff?

      Then why not tip auto mechanics? The nurse at your doctor’s clinic? You dental hygienist? The check out at Cub? The florist who sells me flowers I buy for my wife? The plumber that augers the tree roots from your sewer? What is their incentive to do better?

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/05/2018 - 02:52 pm.

      Tips

      The business model of the American restaurant assumes that the server is going to get tipped by virtually all customers.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 03/05/2018 - 05:23 pm.

        And Why Is That?

        Are those employers so incompetent they don’t know what their employees are worth?

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/06/2018 - 09:54 am.

          Maybe

          I would guess that the more likely reason is the old “it’s always been done that way” rationale. Beyond that, it’s an interesting question (Have you ever seen the movie Petrified Forest? I recall the diner had a big sign, “Tipping is Un-American. Keep You Change.”)

          I’m not a fan of the custom of tipping, although I consider the tip to be a part of my cost of dining out.

  5. Submitted by Mike Schumann on 03/05/2018 - 12:27 pm.

    Pay for Performance

    There is an undercurrent in this debate that is being swept under the rug. There are a lot of people who don’t want a tip credit who have a much larger agenda. They want everyone to be paid the same, regardless of the employee’s performance. Tips is just the tip of the iceberg. Next they are going to go after sales commissions.

    The cornerstone of the American system is that the harder you work, the more money you can make. Conversely the Soviet Union tried the everyone gets paid the same model. Look where that got them.

    • Submitted by Mike Hindin on 03/11/2018 - 08:26 am.

      Tips and service quality

      It is up to management to monitor and assure quality service, as in other businesses. They know repeat business and word of mouth advertisingg matters. There is no rule preventing employers from raising wagers for better performers. Bad service means bad reviews all over the internet etc.

  6. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 03/05/2018 - 12:44 pm.

    Bias In Media

    Why does Minn Post adopt biased language in reporting? Given that tips are deducted from the employees’ hourly wages, it’s seems pretty clear that calling it a “tip deduction” is fairly straight forward and clear. Isn’t that in fact what supporters wish to do? To deduct the (approximate) amount of the tip from standard minimum wage?

    • Submitted by Michael Hess on 03/06/2018 - 03:15 pm.

      BIas

      In all the posturing and positioning over the minimum wage last year the notion of a “tip penalty” or “tip deduction” has to be among the most dishonest.

      When was the last time you heard a server exclaim “Oh no, that party left me a huge tip! This is going to cost me a fortune!” The answer is that you have never heard anyone say that because that’s not how tips work.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 03/07/2018 - 07:40 am.

        It’s Not About the Tip

        It’s about the deduction of the tip from the hourly wage.

        How often have you heard a waiter say, “I wish I worked in a tip deduction state so I could make a lower wage!”

  7. Submitted by James Hamilton on 03/05/2018 - 01:21 pm.

    Split tip credit?

    Tips are a tough way to make a living, but can be very lucrative for some.

    If the object is to ensure that all employees make a reasonable wage, one way to address it might be for employers and employees to split tips 50/50 (or some other number). Those in the back of the house, who may see only a portion of a server’s tips if anything, would receive the established hourly wage while those in the front of the house would receive a guaranteed minimum of the same rate plus 50% of their tips. If tips exceed the hourly minimum, then the employee gets everything above that minimum. In practice, a server picking up $30 in tips per hour would receive the base wage of $15 and receive $22.50 in tips for a total of $37.50 – exactly what they would receive with a $7.50 minimum wage. That missing $7.50 would be credited to the employer.

    I’m sure there are problems with this idea, as there are with every idea on this subject.

  8. Submitted by Tom Johnson on 03/05/2018 - 01:26 pm.

    LONG PHASE IN IS THE CENTRAL PROBLEM

    “Because the phase-in period for the Minneapolis wage is so lengthy — employers with fewer than 100 workers won’t have to pay $15 until the summer of 2024 — there is less incentive to change tipping models.”

    The $15 minimum wage is not remotely anything that approaches $15hr – or a livable income (about $20/hr for a family of three in the Metro area. Under present rates of inflation (2% nominal/ 5%) real, assuming that the wage is ever passed, it will have lost 15% to 25% of value by 2024 (when most large employers will be paying more anyway).

    So this is yet another scam by liberals and progressives so they can keep their DFL and union political and staff jobs and pretend to actually work for the interests of the poor and working classes.

    In the Spanish Civil War, against Franco Fascists, tipping was abolished in free (Republican) zones. We all see how that turned out: Franco slaughtered the opposition with U.S./UK arms and assistance from Nazi and Italian air forces.

    The lib/progs of today fear the same so they bleat, but fail to act on core issues.

    • Submitted by richard owens on 03/06/2018 - 10:54 am.

      We all want to avoid a re-play of Francisco Franco!

      I appreciate the tie-in to tipping policy in Spain I never knew about.

      That said, if you were to visit any cafe in Minnesota for lunch, I suspect you’d be waited on by a part-time woman whose income is barely enough to make it worth showing up for the noon crowd.

      She very well might work the breakfast shift, but without liquor sales and all the multiple trips for coffee and water and cheap customers (retired farmers), she will not be knocking down a big paycheck any time soon.

      The owner probably didn’t start the cafe with a pile of laundered money and a Chef from the Culinary Academy either. This is a self-exploitation-driven business.

      One thing anyone can observe is, cafe servers are neither easy jobs, nor are they sufficient to earn a living. It is embarrassing to even eat with folks who won’t leave a decent tip, but some of them don’t have much money either. “Friendly” usually replaces the 20%.

      Safe to say- nobody is really worried about the aforementioned Fascist customers- they are motivated by their angry vengeance and concern themselves- not a whit for the waitress..

  9. Submitted by Stan Hooper on 03/05/2018 - 01:49 pm.

    Scandinavian Tipping Experience

    A few years ago we were in a Norway restaurant for lunch and found the cost to be quite high compared to U.S. prices. When we finished up, we left a tip on the table. As we were donning our jackets and the wait person started clearing the table, we were told to take our tip money back. “When you foreigners tip us,” she said, “you insult us.” Wow. We asked where that came from and she replied that she and all the staff were paid living wages; tips only indicated that the customer thought of them as second class citizens. We got the same results while in Sweden, and our visits to some other European countries outside of Scandinavia have been similar experiences. Not all of Europe has disdain for tips, but it does show what impact wages make for restaurant employees. If wages in the U.S. can truly supply restaurant staff with living wages, it would seem redundant and unnecessary to hold on to tipping as a standard, expected practice for customers.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/05/2018 - 03:43 pm.

      Sure, but the service was awful eh?

      I don’t understand… without the lure of a tip, why would anyone do their job well?

      • Submitted by John Evans on 03/05/2018 - 08:39 pm.

        Right!

        That’s why the Scandinavian countries are so dysfunctional that their economies are stagnating, their health and education systems are failing and their per capita GDPs are declining — Oh, wait …

  10. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/05/2018 - 04:53 pm.

    This article almost seems designed to obscure the issue.

    The issue is living wages, and all the data we have tells us that restaurant workers aren’t making living wages even with tips. In fact, this is an endemic feature of American employment.

    We now have ample evidence that despite all claims and promises to the contrary, employers will not raise wages unless they are compelled to raise wages by law or contract. Despite the longest sustained recovery in US history American employers are suppressing wages.

    Local restaurant owners are always complaining about narrow margins, but they never tell us what their revenue and profit actually are, and no business reporter ever asks. Meanwhile, these cash starved owners keep opening additional restaurants all over the metro. There is an obvious and clear disconnect between their claims and their business models. These claims that they can’t afford to pay more, or charge more to cover the costs, are obviously ridiculous.

    As for tips, the whole point of living wages is to raise the income of minimum wage workers. Most of the data tells us that a $5+ hourly raise increases real income regardless of tips, that’s only a problem if you’re worried about workers making too much money- is THAT what we’re worried about? Why isn’t that a problem for owners?

    This whole tip issue is smoke and mirrors. If customers can’t afford to tip as generously as they used to, they won’t. Servers will still make more money with higher base pay even if there is a decrease in tips, as long as the base pay is a living wage. Owners will make up the difference by raising prices 10%-15% and most customers won’t notice the difference.

    In sum- the reason the subject of eliminating tips rarely comes up is because its not a serious question.

    • Submitted by John Evans on 03/06/2018 - 01:47 pm.

      Right! Minimum wage is the main issue.

      The last time Minnesota passed a minimum wage increase, the tip credit issue was argued exhaustively. All the reasons why we chose a “clean” minimum wage, without tip credits will still apply: servers put in substantial parts of their shifts on untipped labor, like cleaning and restocking; servers behind a counter never get much in tips, etc.

      This will cause some disruption in the restaurant industry; there will be winners and losers. Those servers who are doing well on tips may lose out. But remember, only a small percentage of servers get tipped well enough to equal or exceed $15/hr. for their work.

      And as tipped servers all know, your income depends partly on your diligence and skill, but largely on other factors. With rare exceptions, you have to be slender, sexy, young and white.

  11. Submitted by Wayne Kantola on 03/05/2018 - 08:20 pm.

    Choice

    It seems to me that the folks who want to regulate everything, think they know more about whats “fair” and “good” than everyone else. Restaurant servers have a choice. Bus dishes, prepare meals, provide custodial services for the guaranteed minimum wage. Or. Take a risk, perfect their craft, provide the best service possible under the circumstances and perhaps far exceed the guaranteed minimum wage. Why legislate their freedom to choose away? Why assume on the front side they are not capable of making intelligent decisions all on their own?

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 03/06/2018 - 10:07 am.

      Disdain for Regulation

      Does your disdain for government regulation in the workplace extend to laws that interfere with contracts between private parties? Should private parties have the freedom to agree to contracts that require all employees who benefit from representation to pay agency fees that pay for that representation?

      Or is that an acceptable form of regulation of freedom? Can one have the freedom to “take a risk, perfect their craft” and voluntarily enter such an agreement?

      • Submitted by Wayne Kantola on 03/07/2018 - 07:11 am.

        Freedom?

        Of course people should have the freedom to agree to contracts that require them to pay agency fees. They should also have the freedom not to.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/07/2018 - 11:53 am.

          The problem is…

          The folks who don’t pay dues still get the same benefits as those who do. So you get better wages, benefits, job protection, all negotiated by the Union, but you don’t pay the dues that finance those negotiations. So you say: “Well what if if want to free to make less money and have fewer benefits than other people doing the same job?” Sure. Anyways letting people opt out of the Union is a simply a long sought after union busting item on the corporate bucket list.

          Look, it’s going to come down this in the end, either American workers can have labor unions that negotiate fair wages and benefits, or we’ll pass labor laws that establishing them. Either way the inequity of the current wealth distribution isn’t sustainable.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/06/2018 - 11:12 am.

      Simply bizarre

      The idea that minimum wages make people lazy or deny them “freedoms” of kind is simply bizarre. the claim that paying poor people more makes them lazy and unproductive is nothing but class bigotry and/or fantasy pretending to be economic theory.

      Here’s what we know for a fact: Economic mobility has declined in the US since 1980, and our economic mobility is lower than almost every other comparable economy. During that same period average wages have remained flat or suffered periods of decline.

      Poverty is the biggest predictor of poverty, and wealth is the biggest predictor of wealth. If paying workers less motivated them to make more money, the wealthy would be falling into poverty while the poor would rise into opulence. You don’t see that happening.

      Being poor doesn’t make people more “free” than wealthy people, on the contrary. Therefore living wages can’t be a blow to individual liberty.

      We also know a few things about human nature. To begin with, the desire to excel, perform well at one’s job, be a good person, take care of one’s family, etc. etc. is NOT a universal product of greed.Most people don’t measure their Integrity, pride, and the capacity for hard work as a function of wealth. The idea that the wealthy are harder working, smarter, and more honest than everyone else is a myth that’s currently on spectacular display in the White House. The idea that living wages rob people of their dreams and aspirations is simply incoherent. Living wages simply pay workers a fair days wage for a fair days work. A person who can afford their rent, AND afford to go school, isn’t less likely to pursue their dreams, they’re actually more likely to do so.

  12. Submitted by Pat Terry on 03/06/2018 - 11:10 am.

    Until the rules change

    Be good tippers. If you can afford to eat out, you can afford a 20 percent tip. Tip your pizza guy/lady. Tip your barista.

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