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Minimum wage debate: CA restaurateurs claim $21 hourly wage earned by tipped waitstaff




LA general view of the atmosphere during Vanity Fair and the Chrysler brand Celebration of Les Misérables in support of The Los Angeles Fund for Public Education at Eveleigh restaurant on February 20, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
LA general view of the atmosphere during Vanity Fair and the Chrysler brand Celebration of Les Misérables in support of The Los Angeles Fund for Public Education at Eveleigh restaurant on February 20, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
Jason Kempin/Getty Images for VF

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Tomorrow, the Raise the Wage campaign, including business leaders and workers, will deliver 100,000 petition signatures to LA City Council calling for a $15.25 minimum wage and paid sick days.

The latest move comes on the heels of a report commissioned by the California Restaurant Association, which claims restaurant “servers make an average of $12.57 per hour in tips, bringing their current hourly wage to over $21 when added to the minimum wage.” Disputing the conclusions of the study, the Restaurant Opportunities Centers-United says restaurant workers make an average annual salary of $28 thousand. Additionally, prior statistics conducted by government agencies claim tipped workers only bring in $1.54 per hour in tips.

These figures are being bandied about because of efforts by restaurant proprietors to incorporate their workers’ gratuities into any minimum wage hikes.

If you work in the industry, what have you experienced by way of average tipping amounts? Should wait staff be excluded from the minimum wage hike?

Guests: 

Jot Condie, President & CEO, California Restaurant Association - an advocacy organization representing restaurateurs

Kathy Hoang, Director of the LA Chapter of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United) - founded in 2001, ROC United advocates to improve wages and working conditions for the nation's restaurant workforce.