Stop Paying Tipping Wages, Start Paying Living Wages

Target: Alexander Acosta, U.S. Secretary of Labor

Goal: Put an end to tipped wages and mandate all are paid a living wage at minimum.

As labor rights activists across the country demand a living wage for employees, workers paid in tips are often left out of the discussion, despite earning significantly less than regular employees. The federal minimum wage for a tipped worker is $2.13 and employees are expected to make the rest of their money in tips, but this places the onus on customers to ensure the people serving them are paid a decent wage. If one forgets about the tip or feels mistreated, a tipped employee could wave goodbye to a large portion of the pay they deserve, and tips are often affected by a server’s race, age, and physical attractiveness. It’s time to end the fraught system of tipped work in this country, and mandate that all employees are paid a living wage to ensure everyone in the U.S. can experience the prosperity and happiness they deserve.

Already eight states have eliminated the tipped wage, and many have increased their minimum wage to start reflecting financial reality, but the restaurant industry continues to fight the existence of any minimum wage. Research indicates that the poverty rate for tipped workers is twice that of those who don’t rely on tips, and roughly a quarter of tipped workers are parents trying to support their families. Paying a paltry wage won’t do that, and it’s time to call for change. Sign this petition to demand a nation-wide end to the two-tiered minimum wage, and raise what’s left to a living wage that can support a dignified life for American workers.


Dear Secretary Acosta,

In recent years, labor activists across the nation have demanded that the minimum wage be raised to a living one, but tipped workers are often left out of the discussion. These employees are paid $2.13 an hour by their employers, and are expected to make up the difference with payment directly from customers. This system is fraught with issues as patrons have proven themselves to be forgetful or rude, leaving tipped workers in poverty at twice the rate of non-tipped employees. Tipped workers are also much more susceptible to losing pay based on their race, age, or physical attractiveness. It’s time for the federal government to put an end to the tipped wage and raise the minimum wage for all American workers to a living one.

There are 4.3 million tipped workers in America, but despite the rising cost of living here, the minimum tipped wage has not increased since 1996. This is in no small part due to the extensive lobbying of the restaurant industry, which argues against any minimum wage which they feel would hurt their profit margins. I write today to urge you to stop kowtowing to the lobbyists and get rid of the tipped wage, instead requiring that all workers in America be paid a living wage that gives them pride in their work and a dignified life to enjoy.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Scott Sanchez

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One Comment

  1. Gen Lovyet Agustsson says:

    stop tip wages or abolish the taxes!

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