January 7, 2013
State of Florida flag a bit worse for wear. #florida #flag #sunshinestate (at IvanHood)

State of Florida flag a bit worse for wear. #florida #flag #sunshinestate (at IvanHood)

February 25, 2012
Defend Tipped Employees

In 2004 the people of Florida voted on and passed an amendment to the state constitution that required the state minimum wage to be adjusted annually to keep pace with ever rising inflation. Now State Senator Nancy Detert (R) and the other 5 members of the Commerce and Tourism Committee want to over rule the will of the people and pass a bill brought to them by the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association that would give employers the power to lower the minimum wage paid to tipped employees from $4.65 an hour to $2.13 an hour.

According to the 2010 census, 7,677,309 Floridians work in Food Preparation And Serving Related Occupations and an additional 5,088,919 work in Transportation and 4,744,071 work in Personal Care And Service Occupation, most of these are tipped workers and could also be affected by the bill.

Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Restaurant and Lodging Association who brought the bill to the committee has said that “the 118 percent increase in their wage since 2004, when voters approved a constitutional amendment to tie the minimum wage increases to the inflation index, is hurting the industry.”

However, The National Restaurant Association (the industries largest lobbying group) put out a press release on February 1st of this year entitled “Restaurant Industry Set To Outpace National Job Growth, Reach Record Sales in 2012.” This is not a hurting industry, this is a booming industry.

Simple thought experiment: If you estimate that there are 10,000,000 people (conservatively) who work an average of 20 hours a week (very conservatively) and you lower their hourly pay by $2.52 an hour, that’s $50.40 less a week, $201.60 less a month and $2620.80 less a year per person or for the big picture, that’s potentially $26,208,000,000 (that’s twenty six BILLION) dollars taken out of the hands of Floridians.

For the few Tipped Employees in the state who are fortunate enough to actually have health insurance through their employer, their entire paycheck (plus usually more at the end of the year) goes to paying for it. Cutting their hourly wage would have a tremendously adverse effect on them and their families. It’s not too late to do something, the bill is still in committee and has not reached the floor for a vote, we can not allow it to get there. Help spread the word about this, call or email your state representatives ( http://www.flsenate.gov/senators/find ), tell your friends, print out our cards and leave them with your tip when you go out to a Bar or Restaurant (coming soon). There are millions of us, but awareness and being proactive is the only way we can stop them.

JB

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