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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Could Higher Minimum Wage Mean Goodbye Tips?

Posted By on Thu, Jun 12, 2014 at 8:45 AM

click to enlarge FLICKR/TIMDORR

On Tuesday, Mayor Ed Lee gave his approval on an initiative that will increase San Francisco's minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2018.

Supported by the Board of Supervisors, labor unions, non-profit groups, and the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, the initiative will be on the ballot for voters this November.

It calls for gradually raising the wage from the current $10.74 to $12.25 in May 2015, then to $13 in June 2016, and a dollar every year until 2018 when it reaches the proposed $15.

Seattle has approved a similar plan to raise its minimum wage from $9.32 to $15 over the next seven years.

While this may sound like a miracle that will allow San Franciscans to struggle less when paying the bills and finding apartments, as Lee intended, the plan isn't ideal for small businesses and restaurants.

Raising the minimum wage could mean raising prices on menus and products and shrinking staffs.

The Executive Director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, Gwyneth Borden, told the Chronicle that workers who are receiving tips on top of their salaries should be exempt from the wage raise.

Seattle proposed to solve this problem by eliminating tipping all together.

The Seattle Times reported that Saru Jayaraman, co-founder and co-director of Seattle's Restaurant Opportunities Center United, an advocacy group, called tipping "institutionalized sexism" at Mayor Ed Murray's Income Inequality Symposium on March 27. According to the Times, women comprise 60 percent of tipped workers and "will suffer sexual harassment for tips."

Will San Francisco follow Seattle's example and banish the tradition that is tipping? Will the initiative really lessen the gap between the classes?


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Tiffany Do

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