albanycapital120The New York State Department of Labor's (DOL) Acting Commissioner, Mario Musolino, today announced that the wages for all 'tipped workers' in New York State will be increased to $7.50/hour as of 12/31/15.

"This is a serious step toward achieving a truly equitable wage structure," saidTompkins County Workers' Center (TCWC) Coordinator Pete Meyers.  "The increase in the tipped worker minimum wage to $7.50 is long overdue and will help in efforts to end working poverty and rebuild a strong middle class in New York State."

The TCWC turned out in force at the October 4th, 2014 State Wage Board Hearing in Syracuse, providing testimony from a number of tipped workers, as well as supportive community members who frequent restaurants in Tompkins County. In addition, the TCWC helped to motivate close to 200 letters in response to the DOL's call for Public Comment that ended on 2/20/15 encouraging the Acting Commissioner Musolino to accept the Recommendations of the Wage Board.

"It's just good economic sense to put money into the hands of the people who are working hard and will be spending it all over their communities to get the goods and services they need," says Erin Leidy, a pizza delivery driver in Ithaca and member of TCWC. "There are few other single acts that would positively affect so many constituents and by extension the economy of the entire state."

The TCWC has argued and continues to believe that tipped workers even deserve a higher rate. TCWC's position is that there should be no distinction between tipped workers and other workers – all should earn the minimum wage and that minimum wage should be a living wage.