Assemblyman joins rally against changes in how restaurant servers paid

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Assemblyman Brian Miller, R-101, New Hartford, joined a rally at the state Capitol Tuesday against eliminating the credit for tips for tipped workers in favor of extending the minimum wage to all workers.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo raised the issue in January 2018 and the state Labor Department held hearings last summer on whether to eliminate the credit for tipped workers in the state’s minimum wage law.

The maximum credit for tips received for food service workers went to $3.60 Dec. 31. Coupled with the minimum wage for tipped food service workers, now $7.50 an hour, that is supposed to equal the state minimum wage, which went to $11.10 an hour Dec. 31 outside New York city and the metro area. The minimum and the credit are set to increase the next two years then be reviewed and adjusted annually according to the Consumer Price Index and other economic indices.

Advocates of ending the credit and applying the minimum wage to all workers say it would help workers in tipped jobs who don’t make enough in tips to make up the difference. Employers are supposed to make up the difference but advocates say that is not always true.

Miller joined a rally sponsored by Restaurant Workers of America and said restaurant servers have told him they favor keeping the tip credit because they would make less money.

“There is no question that working in a restaurant is a hard job, but it is a job that many of my constituents love and do not want to see changed,” Miller said in a statement. “I have heard from many people who work as servers and they don’t support the governor’s plan because they stand to lose money. I stand behind these workers and what they believe is best for them and their families.”

That view is also favored by the Business Council of New York State, the state Hospitality and Tourism Alliance, the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association and Unshackle Upstate and multiple chambers of commerce, according to Miller.

Miller cited a survey by the New York City Hospitality Alliance of 486 restaurants employing nearly 14,000 tipped workers that found that servers earn median of $25 an hour under the current system. The alliance also said three-quarters of restaurants, both full- and limited-service, have or plan to reduce employee hours because of the mandated increases.

Miller’s district extends from New Hartford and Paris in southern Oneida County through a narrow swath of the state to the Poughkeepsie area.

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