Minnesota state Rep. Tom Emmer, the presumptive Republican nominee for governor, has put forward a new policy for helping the state’s businesses: Lowering the minimum wage for waiters and waitresses, and forcing them to rely more heavily on tips.
Minnesota is one of seven states that do not permit employers to pay less than the standard minimum wage to tipped workers. Federal law permits tipped workers’ wages to be as low $2.13 per hour, with tips given to workers credited against the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour employers are required to pay. Emmer’s proposal would get rid of Minnesota’s law against using that credit, and thus bring the minimum wages for restaurant staff and other gratuity-based workers down to $2.13 per hour plus tips, a reduction of nearly two-thirds. Emmer said this proposal would result in a “level playing field so the employers can continue to exist, survive and thrive.”
“With the tips that they get to take home, they are some people earning over $100,000 a year. More than the very people providing the jobs and investing not only their life savings but their families’ future,” Emmer added. Of course, waitstaff earning more than $100,000 a year are hardly reliant on even the federal minimum wage of $7.25 and hour, if their employers are even actually paying them at that rate.
In a way, this particular Emmer proposal is quite notable in that it uses federal law as a floor, and seeks to standardize Minnesota with the rest of the country. Indeed, many of his other proposals have involved nullifying most federal laws, and taking Minnesota out of harmony with the rest of the country. But in this one case, believe it or not, he is suddenly pro-Union.
H/T to Jeff Fecke