NYSRA Continues The Fight Against Tip Wage Elimination

The New York State Restaurant Association (NYSRA) has been on the front lines for more than six months fighting the battle against the Governor’s attempt to eliminate the tipped wage. In late December, we received a call that this proposal was going to be examined through a series of hearings (NOT a legislative vote) held by the Labor Commissioner and her staff to determine the validity of this idea.   

The scene at the recent Albany tip wage elimination hearing

It started in Long Island where we rallied with close to 200 industry professionals to tell the stories of how tip wage elimination would negatively affect our industry. From dozens of servers and bartenders, to multi-unit operators and independents, all explained how this will crush the hard working businesses and employees that call this industry home. Then we were off to Watertown where we gathered crowds of operators and servers to share messages of why this failed in Maine and how it would hurt the very people it’s supposed to be helping. Then several hundred more testified in Syracuse, Buffalo, and again in Albany where NYSRA was the force behind the many voices of the entire state. We have collectively held five rallies, dozens of TV spots, numerous interviews and news articles, and garnered the support of many state legislators. This has been a 6 month fight, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day for the New York State Restaurant Association staff, Board leadership and its members.

The last of the six industry hearings is on June 27 at Assembly Hall, Hunter College, 68th Street campus, 695 Park Avenue, Manhattan. We need to continue our momentum from the previous five hearings and have a strong showing at the final hearing. We are grateful to the restaurant organizations who closed their doors for the day to testify, to those who drove 4, 5, and 6 plus hours to testify around the state, and to those tipped employees who have put 100% into this fight since January. Now, we must make the Bronx hearing our best yet!

We have a call to action for all restaurant industry tipped employees and operators who do NOT want to see this change completely disrupt our industry, earnings, and service levels. GO REGISTER & TESTIFY!! If we do not speak up when given the opportunity the affects will be: raising menu prices, eliminating staff, reducing hours, less staff per shift, reducing service levels which lead to lower customer satisfaction. Lower customer satisfaction leads to less earnings for staff and owners. It’s time to take action! If you have any questions on how to testify, how these things work, or how to register, we are here to help.

For over 85 years NYSRA has been there for you when you needed us and since the day this started we’ve been on the front line for you. Contact Ron Mathews if you have any questions ronm@nysra.org or call 212-398-9160, ext 207.