Looks like someone hasn't done tipped server work on tribal lands or in federal lands - but hey Wall Strret Joirnal today page A3
Man my spelunking is so good
I'm not necessarily in the bag for an automatic/immediate $15 minimum wage increase (nor am I a business owner or minimum wage-earner with a direct interest in the issue) but I think this post is full of spurious, scattershot speculation passed off as conclusive outcomes. (I realize the same can be said for pro $15Now, but at least they're offering up valid data.) I find it hard to believe that servers total income will go down; there's no reasoning offered nor data.

As to the question of whether $15 is too big a burden for small/local businesses like The Comet or 5 Point Cafe, that's a separate policy question. Phase-ins over time are one possibility. Another is incorporating tips into total compensation and maybe giving small businesses a tax rebate. There are lots of possible compromises. I'm sure Mr. Meinert and a lot of local Seattle business owners want to do right by their minimum wage employees (tipped or un-tipped). Sticking to the things that matter in this discussion and being honest will probably serve them best rather than deflecting with speculative and spurious arguments passed off as fact.
Tips are not wages, and what we demand is a $15/hour minimum wage. As was mentioned, small business can phase it in, but we demand a $15/hour minimum wage. A base wage of $15/hour. Tips are not wages.
Why does Mr. Meinert get a guest column whenever he has something he wants to say? I already know how he feels. Why don't you find a union rep, or a CoC, or a social worker, or just someone else to write a guest column. Why not reach out to Paul Krugman? That would be an interesting and well thought out article.
If you are trying to offered "fair and balanced" reporting, you should balance it out more. Right now the only sides I'm hearing are representatives of 15Now(which makes sense) and some particular guy who owns hipster haunts in Capital Hill(makes sense once, but repeatedly?) .
Total compensation does redefine minimum wage in Seattle. The norm here is that we do not have total compensation. You want to change that - in other words, redefine it. Washington state broke away from the rest of the country by rejecting total compensation 25 years ago. You want to return to it because you see your tipped staff as stealing money from you.

You want to take $2/hr from your employees in addition to excluding tipped staff from a minimum wage increase? That really sucks. You're just going to water this down to nothing, aren't you?

"Total compensation guarantees EVERY worker earn at least $15." How the fuck does taking $2/hr away from your minimum employees do that?
@3It would go down for the White guys working as servers at high end restaurants , and skyrocket for brown people working at hotels, valet parking, low-end diners, and other places where the expense to be tipped upon is <$20.
You know even if the cost is completely passed on to the expense, and people tip less, the tips will be larger since the bill will be higher.

What really kills small businesses is landlords, as the article from this morning demonstrated. Small businesses really need rent control with all these chase banks and subways driving up commercial real estate rents.
Tip credit makes sense but all other credits especially a health care credit is BS.
@Dave, what about Seattles current issues with wage theft? I'm with you on the tip credit but Jess does have a good point that if Seattle is already struggling to enforce wage theft laws then how will they enforce the 15 buck min if there's a tip credit?
@Dave, simple solution, ban tipping in your restaurants.
Why does a minimum wage debate need to descend into sexual harassment, racism, wage theft, and single motherhood rather than be about what is a socially acceptable minimum wage ? Equality means that the minimum wage should be blind to the parental status/color/notion that employers will break laws.
I actually think there could be some merit to a total comp package that included health care counted as $2.00 /hr. $13.00/hr plus a guarantee of healthcare or $15.00/hr. might be a sound compromise.
While I often disagree with Mr. Meinert, I will applaud his willingness to engage in the debate and offer possible areas of agreement.
Maybe he could offer Mayor Bugeyes some lessons in politics.
Why is someone who owns god knows how many bars/restaurants/taverns given article space to write about "small business"?
As Bill Maher said tonight, "How about giving your employees a raise, you deluded nitwit?"…
@14, yes, I'm sure Maher would love more drive thru windows from which "Nite Nite Niga" heroin could be procured. I bet her fellow employees wouldn't even mind when some other drug dealers came into the McDonalds with weapons to defend their turf.…
Maher also found it hard to blame the McDonald’s employee in Pittsburgh who was arrested for allegedly selling heroin to customers at the drive-thru.

“She didn’t do it because she likes heroin — although it’s probably no worse for you than the filet o’ fish,” Maher said. “She did it because you can’t raise two kids on seven dollars and seventy-two cents an hour.”

Indeed! He even thinks that a McDonald's filet o' fish is more harmful to consume than heroin! Man, Chefjoe, how do manage to notice these subtle clues! You're like Einstein and Sherlock Holmes and Batman all rolled into one!
I'm not opposed to a phase in period, to give small employers some time to adjust. A sudden and unplanned for increase in employee expenses is difficult for small businesses to absorb. I get that.

But I'm totally opposed to a tip credit. Your claim that servers earnings would "decrease dramatically" without a tip credit is completely illogical. In fact, the reverse it true. If you pay them a lower base wage with a tip credit, the only person that makes more money is you. For many of the poorest servers in lower priced restaurants, a tip credit would eat up all of the increase in the minimum wage. They will have gained nothing.

I'm flexible about some aspects of the minimum wage debate, but a tip credit is a non-starter for me.
@5 because Dave and every one of his buddies is who advertises and pays for this paper despite as muckracking and independent as people have assigned then to be
Jesus Tapdancing Christ, the Cult of Kshama Sawant is really making me regret voting for her.
I don't think anyone is advocating for a $3 base wage and tip credit system to be implemented. In WA state, state law says we're a tip credit-less state. What is being advocated for is a tip credit for the difference between a Seattle $15 min wage and a WA state $9.something min wage for tipped workers.
@3 - Servers income will go down because if we go to $15 across the board, businesses would have to raise prices by so much they would have no customers - unless we raised prices and did away with tips. Which is what Jess Spear wants, no tips. The problem is that if restaurants replace tips with higher prices, that 20% price increase is first taxed and then is kept and controlled by the business (we can't touch tips). It will be used to pay the higher labor costs. Servers will get a $5.68 increase in the wage, but no longer get tips. Servers who now average $27 per hour with tips, will be guaranteed $15 per hour. Restaurants won't have any more money to pay them without another price increase, but never will anyone be paid close to what they were.

And you're exactly correct - this could be solved by counting tips as part of minimum guaranteed compensation. That's my proposal. This would guarantee tipped employees get at least $15 per hour, but would not do away with tipping, So those making more than $15 per hour with tips now, would keep their tips.

@ 9 - I agree there are problems with wage theft everywhere including in Seattle. On one hand the $15Now side claims there is a huge issue with wage theft in Seattle where we don't have tip credit, but then says wage theft elsewhere is a result of tip credit. You can't have it both ways.

Wage theft is the result of weak laws and weak enforcement. It's not from tip credit. And we do need to address it.

In my original article on total compensation ( I said:

Enforcement is key. We need harsh punishments for any business that doesn't pay $15. I suggest a fine of two to three times the amount underpaid plus interest for the first offense, and loss of business license or jail for the second offense. Employees must also have a place to take labor complaints, and we should look to San Francisco and form an Office of Labor Standards to ensure this and other local labor laws are enforced.

@12 - thanks, agreed, it's done exactly like that elsewhere and works.

@14 - I am proposing we give my employees raises. Significant ones that will cost me a lot of money. I'm just proposing we do it in a way that doesn't close my and many other's businesses.

@21: "Which is what Jess Spear wants, no tips." Citation, please.

But isn't the way you're proposing to get those raises is to have customers paying for the raises. When I eat out, I tip because I want to help out the staff, and I pay the restaurant for the food and service, which can then go into expenses such as payroll. But I don't want to be paying part of the wage itself.
@24, Doug you simpleton.... move away from tipping, look at this tipless restaurant.…
@8 - none, tips are not wages. We need to move away from tipping in general.

As for how it can change the relationship between servers and customers (as well as the business itself), I could say what I think would happen (all positive), but perhaps it's worth reading this experience:…
Posted by Jess Spear on April 4, 2014 at 6:46 PM
This is a great article that Jess posted on the other thread,…

We really should move towards outlawing tipping.
@26, have you actually read that link? It makes a very good case for getting rid of tipping.

Really that's been my whole problem with this debate, if we want to pay service workers more in their living wage, then it's only honest to admit that we should depend less on tips. I give Jess huge credit for admitting this.
@28, I've read the first 4 parts and then petered out. Look, I've worked in restaurants in both the front and back of the house. I do like the idea of a flat service charge. But the reality is the system we have, and a lot of traditionally tipped workers are earning far beyond $15/hr currently with tips, beyond the minimum wage they can earn of $9.32? an hour now. I think so many of those tipped servers who earn beyond $15/hr now won't really see much change if there is a tip credit to ensure $15/hr (as Meinert is suggesting).

But the internet is rife with discussions on tipping, how it's a crappy system, etc... it's about as tangental to the debate about actually establishing a $15 min wage as the wage theft/sexual harrassment discussions.

I think $15/hr local min wage with tip credit is fine when greater WA has a $9.32/hr tip wage.
why is meinert adamant on total comp?

example A. he provides a health care plan worth $2 an hour gets the total comp credit ends up paying $15 an hour. with total comp. since of course the plan costs $2 an hour, right?
example B. no total comp credit, so he doesn't get the plan -- he pays $15 anyway. so what's it to him?

here's the answer. example C.

he BUYS the health care plan at a price that's equal to $1.50 an hour, CHARGES THE WORKER $2 AN HOUR FOR IT IN THE TOTAL COMP CREDIT, thus makes $0.50 cents an hour off the arbitrage. wow. this is the only reason I can see he wants to have the total comp credit thing.

if not, why's he care? let the workers choose their own health care plan, they don't need Lord Meinert choosing it for them like they're serfs or something. Let's say they do want a plan that costs $2 an hour -- pay them $15 let them CHOOSE THEIR OWN plan, why do they have to bow down in humble submission to Duke MEINERT who rules over them like a feudal lord?
Another business owner telling us the issue is just too complicated for us poors to understand. Thanks for ANOTHER condescending business perspective. You really are above all of us, Dave, I've written a protest slogan that sums up your view on this issue - "we b 2 stoopid 4 15$!"

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