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Minnesota Wants to Cut Wages for Tipped Restaurant Employees

More minimum wage politics.

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Not-so-great news for restaurant workers in Minnesota: This week the state House voted in favor of a bill "that would lead to a pay cut for thousands of tip workers," reports Minneapolis's Star TribuneIf the proposed bill is signed into law, it would "create a two-tiered minimum wage," allowing restaurant owners to pay a lower hourly wage to employees who earn tips of at least $4 an hour.

The Republican-led House passed the bill with 73 in favor, 56 opposed. Rep. Tim Mahoney (DFL-St. Paul) criticized the bill, telling the Star Tribune, "The message from this bill is that you’re making too much money. It wants to keep people making $12 per hour rather than making $14 or $15 an hour." Republicans argue that "without a change in the minimum-wage law, restaurants and taverns could be forced out of business by higher labor costs as the state’s minimum wage rises to $9.50 per hour by 2016 and then increases with inflation after that."

The bill included other provisions that would "would prevent cities or other governing entities from outpacing the state minimum wage," says the Star Tribune; the paper calls that "an oblique shot at Gov. Mark Dayton, who has said he favors a $10 minimum wage for airport workers."

As the Minnesota House moves to cut wages for tipped workers, several other states are doing exactly the opposite. By 2015, Seattle and San Francisco will be paying their respective tipped workforces a minimum of $15 an hour. Meanwhile, recent protests across the country have many calling for the federal minimum wage to be hoisted to $15 for all service workers.

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