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As I See It

Servers deserve at least a minimum wage

Scott Robert Shaw

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The debate continues at both the federal and state level over whether the minimum wage should be raised to $15 per hour. Most who are making minimum wage are making $7.25 an hour, which is the case in Wisconsin. But some Wisconsin workers are making much less, just $2.33 per hour. They work in Wisconsin’s bars and restaurants and are expected to make up the difference in tips. Now some Wisconsin lawmakers are trying to get the state’s hospitality workers to make the same minimum wage as those in other professions. That makes sense. Why should waitresses legally make so much less than those bagging groceries or running the register? 60% of restaurant workers say what they bring home from their job doesn’t pay the bills. They are more likely to be on some sort of public assistance to make ends meet. Most waiters and waitresses don’t receive benefits like vacation or paid sick leave. Often servers work harder than others, and often have to endure verbal or even sexual  harassment, but choose to tolerate it in order to provide for themselves and their families. Plus, most servers who rely on tips don’t fully report their income, leading to lost tax revenue. It is time to stop treating our servers like second-class citizens and prove we value them by at least paying them a minimum wage.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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