Posted on January 25, 2012 at 6:00 PM
Wednesday, Jan 25 at 7:55 PM
SEATTLE -- A proposed bill to lower the minimum wage for workers who earn tips is getting mixed reactions. The bill would lower the base pay for tipped employees from $9.04 to $7.25 an hour.
The cut in minimum wage would be felt by the valet who parks your car, the barista who makes your coffee and by thousands of waiters and waitresses.
Washington has the highest paid servers in the country. Waitstaff in Washington state get the highest minimum wage, plus their tips.
The owner of six Duke's Chowder restaurants supports the measure.
"We're not against minimum wage...we're against subsidizing people who make extraordinary above minimum wage," said Duke Moscrip.
These workers say they earn $10 to $25 per hour in tips and a lower minimum wage is money out of their pockets.
"Why would you wannna work for less if you could work for more," said server Lydia McConnell.
The president of the Seattle Restaurant Alliance says he ends up hiring fewer workers because of the high minimum wage. Also, Seattle restaurants will face mandatory sick leave pay for their workers in a few months.
Critics of the measure, though, say Washington's minimum wage is not a living wage especially for part time workers and students.
"It's really important that they have a strong wage base in addition to their tips, so they can pursue their education," said Tatsuko Go Hollo with the Economic Opportunity Institute.
The restaurant association has tried in the past to float this bill and its failed. Wednesday's hearing was postponed and its unclear if the proposal will get a hearing this year.