The State Labor Department’s hearings on eliminating the tip credit continued over the past month. Hearings in Watertown, Syracuse, Buffalo and Albany had a common theme – a large turnout of restaurant servers and owners opposed to any changes in the tip credit with a few advocates for eliminating the tip credit at each hearing, mostly from outside the area. Restaurant servers who work in all types of operations – independent, chain, large, small, casual, formal, hotel, restaurant, bar, resort, etc. – testified to the middle class lifestyles they enjoy as a result of the current system and urged the Department not to fix what’s not broken. And restaurant owners shared the stark reality of what eliminating the tip credit would mean in dollars and cents.

I’m not sure if the Labor Department was listening, but the media seems to be. The press coverage of the hearings has made clear the broad opposition within the industry to the proposal. In fact, overall the coverage has been very favorable including an editorial supporting our position from the Buffalo News. But we have more work to be done.

The final hospitality industry tip credit hearing is Wednesday, June 27th in the Bronx. This is an all-hands-on-deck last shot to shape the public debate. We’re urging all members and their employees to register to speak at the hearing and come down to the hearing to make your voice heard. We need a strong showing in opposition to eliminating the tip credit…if we can do that in New York City it will send a powerful message. Here are the details:

Wednesday, June 27

Hostos Community College

500 Grand Concourse

Bronx, NY 10451

Register online at:  www.labor.ny.gov/subminimum or by email at: hearing@labor.ny.gov or by phone by calling: 518.457.551. For those who can’t testify at one of these hearings we encourage you to submit testimony or a statement to hearing@labor.ny.gov.