RT, you let us down

Serena Thomas

You wouldn’t know by reading the recent op-ed about the minimum wage by RT Rybak that workers in local restaurants, and the struggles we face, even exist. A prominent politician who focuses on the businesses but neglects the workers is a prime example of how and why we have the disparities we have in Minnesota. As a queer woman of color, I cannot accept this. If these small business owners get to try and reach the middle class, shouldn’t their employees be able to as well? Yes, business owners make money off the success of their business but also have an obligation to treat their employees fairly. They shouldn’t count on customers to do this for them. Tips are not wages and never should be. The majority of tipped workers in Minneapolis do not make over $15 when including their tips. High end restaurant servers/bartenders are not the only tipped workers. Yes we have to think about the small business and keeping them safe, but we can’t ignore people living in poverty. We must acknowledge certain privileges people have to get those high tipping jobs whether that be because of their race, gender, abilities, or simply just time. If politicians like RT mean it when they say they want to address income disparities, we can’t erase the people at the center of this crisis. That is why I cannot agree with the recent article in support of a sub-minimum wage for tipped workers. Everyone deserves a livable and that can only happen with one fair wage at $15/hr.