Restaurant servers are among the lowest paid workers in Maine. They get paid a sub-minimum wage from employers of just $3.75 an hour and rely on tips from customers for the rest of their pay. Tipped workers in Maine are three times more likely to live in poverty, and even with tips they only make a median income of $9.06 an hour. This combined with unstable schedules and fewer customers in the winter months means it is extremely difficult for them to make ends meet. It's unsustainable and unfair.
It's not right that someone serving our food might not be able to make enough to put food on the table for her children. That's why we're part of the campaign to raise the minimum wage for all workers - including workers who make tips, like restaurant servers. Our referendum would incrementally increase the wage for tipped workers until it reaches the full minimum wage in 2024.
Despite working full time putting food on the tables in my restaurant, I, and many women working for tips in this state, struggle to put food on our own tables. And when your wage is totally unreliable, you can never save, you can never anticipate what you’ll make, you can never spend a little extra this week knowing that you’ll make it up with the next paycheck. Read Heather's full story.
Tipped Wage Workers Can't be Left Behind
- Even with tips, the average tipped worker in Maine still only makes $9.06 an hour, not nearly enough to support a family
- Nearly 1/3 of women working for tips are moms and 64.3% of them are single mothers supporting their children entirely on tips.
- An overwhelming number of tipped workers in ME are women (nearly 80%) and are much more likely to experience sexual harassment on the job than other workers because they depend on tips from their customers instead of a steady, sustainable wage to make ends meet.
- According to recent surveys, 9 out of 10 women working for tips said that they have experience harassment in their workplaces, and 37% of all sexual harassment complaints to the EEOC come out of the 7% of Americans working in restaurants.
- Currently, there are seven states (Alaska, California, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington) that have one minimum wages for tipped workers and non-tipped workers alike.
- The restaurant industries in these states that guarantee their servers a fair wage do better, on the whole, than in states where servers are paid less than minimum wage. Even rural states like Alaska and Montana see higher growth rates. In fact, many restaurant owners there prefer paying their servers a decent wage, regardless of tips and many owners and managers in other states are beginning to shift away from paying their tipped workers less than minimum wage.
Are you a tipped worker? Let us know below.
Are you a worker who makes the tipped minimum wage? Do you want to learn more and become involved in our campaign? Use the form below to let us know: