A Las Cruces-based lobbying group has filed a petition in Albuquerque that could drastically affect the thousands of tipped employees who fought for and won a raise in their minimum wage. Effective since January 1, 2013, tipped workers have been making $3.83 an hour, up from the original $2.13. Under this deceptive new proposal, workers will be penalized when their tips raise their take-home pay higher than $9.50 an hour. When that happens they will see their non-tip wage lowered to $2.13 an hour.
This new bill punishes employees who, by providing excellent service to their customers, earn more in tips. Under this lobbyist-driven proposal, customers could inadvertently trigger a pay cut if they tip their waitress well for good service. This idea penalizes great service, forces customers to worry if their tips are helping or hurting, and undermines the voters who passed the original wage increase in overwhelming numbers. It’s legalizing wage theft and it’s wrong for Albuquerque.
Israel Chavez, who works as a server in Albuquerque, responded by saying, “It’s terrible to see people actively working to subvert a minimum wage increase that Albuquerque citizens overwhelmingly support. These tactics would effectively steal the wages of many citizens who are already below the poverty line. The citizens of Albuquerque voted for a minimum wage increase and it’s the municipal government’s duty to enforce that.”
Last November 66 percent of Albuquerqueans voted to have the minimum wage increased. Working America will continue talking to people at their homes and in their communities about why this is a setback for tipped employees and for the Albuquerqueans who spoke with their votes on what the city needs.