Strong opinions at min. wage tip credit hearing

This proposal would not eliminate tipping, only the tip credit, which allow employers to pay tipped employees less than the minimum wage.

BUFFALO, NY - Many people brought strong opinions to a hearing at ECC's downtown Buffalo campus Tuesday, discussing whether the state should eliminate the minimum wage tip credit.

This proposal would not eliminate tipping, only the tip credit, which allow employers to pay tipped employees less than the minimum wage.

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For example, tipped workers in upstate restaurants make $7.50 an hour. If the tip credit was eliminated, that would mean employers would have to pay those workers $10.40 an hour. This is what some people had to say during today's packed hearing.

"I fear for my fellow employees because if the tipping wage is raised to meet the actual minimum wage I feel that the likelihood of getting tipped regularly will decrease dramatically," said Peter Kazmierczak, a Delta Sonic worker.

"Tips are given for good service and in trying to fulfill that requirement these women are often placed into unpleasant vulnerable situations this can arrange from a seemingly innocent policy as requiring a sexy uniform," said Catherine Barnett, the director of ROC NY.

The hearings began a couple weeks ago on Long Island, and have gone throughout the state. Tuesday's hearing was the only one to be held in Western New York.

The final hearings will be held next month downstate, and then the Governor says he'll review the findings of these hearings and make a decision whether to pursue getting rid of the the tip credit.