Thursday, August 03, 2006

Spotlight on tips in minimum-wage bill debate

PAYCHECK:Employees in seven states, including Minnesota, could be affected if Congress passes a measure cutting base pay for workers earning tips.

Erica Werner
AP - Thu, Aug. 03, 2006

WASHINGTON - Tip money earned by waitresses in Duluth, manicurists in Hollywood and bartenders in Seattle is on the table in the nation's capital, as lawmakers scrap over an election-year, minimum-wage bill.

Minnesota, California and Washington are among seven states where workers get to keep their tips on top of getting paid their state's full minimum wage. In other states, tip-earning workers get paid less and make up the difference with tips.

A provision in GOP-written minimum-wage legislation passed by the House and under consideration this week in the Senate could change the law in those seven states -- the others are Montana, Alaska, Nevada and Oregon. It would deal a pay cut of $3 or more an hour to thousands of waiters, bellhops and hairdressers in those states, according to Democrats and labor groups.

"Everything that has been achieved in seven states to support low-wage workers who earn tips is destroyed by this bill," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. "This bill would slash the salaries of thousands of workers."

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid,D-Nev., called the provision a "travesty."

full article