Patch reports that opponents of a proposal to hike wages for tipped New York workers say Sarah Jessica Parker should stick to the screen. Restaurant owners and other activists called on the “Sex and the City” star to halt her push to raise the minimum wage for tipped employees, which they say would hurt businesses and workers alike.
“She may have eaten at some of New York’s best restaurants, but that doesn’t make her an expert in this industry,” Jessica Walker, president and CEO of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement Thursday. “Eliminating the tipped-wage credit will cost jobs, restaurants will close, and unemployment will rise.”
Parker was one of 16 actresses who reportedly sent a March letter urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to end the state’s minimum wage tip credit, which allows businesses to pay tipped employees a lower base wage as long as they make the full minimum wage when income from tips is included.
Become a Harlem insider - Sign-Up for our Weekly Newsletter!
New York City food service workers at businesses with at least 11 employees currently get a minimum wage of $8.65 an hour, while the general minimum wage is $13.
Supporters of the change argue the predominantly female tipped workforce — which includes restaurant servers, bartenders, beauticians and car wash workers — shouldn’t have to rely on tips and subject themselves to harassment to earn a living. Cuomo’s administration is holding two hearings on the proposal in New York City in the next two weeks.
But the measure’s opponents — including Parker’s detractors — say it would drive up costs for small businesses, leaving customers paying more and some workers taking home less cash.
They slammed the actress for holding a secretive fundraiser for One Fair Wage, a group pushing to end the tip credit, without hearing from restaurant employees and others whom the change would affect. The $50,000-a-table event last month was moved to an undisclosed location apparently to keep protesters out, the New York Post reported.
“This is about stopping policy-makers from making a terrible error in the name of working men and women who don’t want it,” said Petrushka Bazin Larsen, the owner of Harlem’s Sugar Hill Creamery.
“This is about stopping policy-makers from making a terrible error in the name of working men and women who don’t want it,” said Petrushka Bazin Larsen, the owner of Harlem’s Sugar Hill Creamery. “It’s a misguided effort that will only result in unbearable costs, empty commercial real estate, and longer unemployment lines.”
Opponents have also disputed the link between the tip credit and harassment, according to the Post.
A representative for Parker did not respond to a request for comment.
Seven states currently require tipped workers to be paid the full minimum wage, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Washington has the highest wage floor of the lot at $11, still lower than New York City’s.