The Rich Less Likely To Support Raising Minimum Wage

Restaurant serversThe guy who whipped your Bojangles' biscuits? He doesn't have any paid sick days. The woman who served your dynamite shrimp at The Cheesecake Factory? She earns less than $5 an hour before tips. Working conditions in America's restaurants are notoriously lousy, and according to a new survey, diners actually care -- although rich diners care significantly less.

ORC International conducted the survey of over 1,000 American adults on behalf of the National Consumers League, a nonprofit advocacy group for consumers. And the findings are clear: People want restaurant workers to get fair wages, all their tips, and paid sick days.

But while college-educated Americans may have read more books on class and injustice, and higher-earning Americans might have more wealth to share, lower-income and less-educated Americans are far more compassionate towards their servers -- perhaps for the same reason that lower-income households give a greater percentage of their income to charity.

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Wealthy people are less likely to favor increasing the minimum wage.

Eighty-seven percent of Americans think the federal tipped minimum wage of $2.13 an hour should go up, even though the number hasn't budged for 22 years. Restaurant servers earn an average of $8.72 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or $18,130 a year, making it one of the lowest paying jobs on American soil (and almost $3,000 less than retail workers).

But of respondents with a high school education or less, 90 percent thought the minimum wage should go up, compared to 80 percent of college grads.

And of people from households earning less than $75,000 a year, 85 percent considered it important that the whole tip they left went to their servers, compared to 71 percent of those making more.

More: McDonald's Server Would Have To Work 550 Years To Earn CEO's Pay

Almost half don't think it's important if servers get paid sick days.

The survey found that just 57 percent of Americans want their servers to receive paid sick days, though almost two out of three without college degrees favored it versus just one out of two college grads. It was women who cared about sick days most of all -- 66 percent, compared to 48 percent of men.

As it stands, 90 percent of restaurant workers report not having that benefit, according to 2011 research by The Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, an advocacy group for low wage restaurant workers. The vast majority of our nation's mightiest chains force workers to surrender a day's wages if they're sick, including Arby's, Cracker Barrel, California Pizza Kitchen, Domino's Pizza, Hard Rock Cafe, IHOP, T.G.I. Friday's, and Outback Steakhouse.





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Filed under: Employment News

Claire Gordon

Staff Writer

Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.

Follow Claire on Twitter. Email Claire at claire.gordon@teamaol.com. Add Claire to your Google+ circles.

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enohamc

thats how they got rich, skimping and scamming the non rich folks, rich folks score: 1, non rich folks score:2, cause the scuzzy ass rich folks are going to die also, and then the living non rich folks win the game!

February 01 2013 at 5:55 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
bubby775

Raising minimum wage helps the rich more than it helps the poor. CIP - I used to work at McDs for 3.35/hr. I worked harder than others and received enough raises that I then made 4.15/hr. Then, min wage went up to 4.25/hr. Everyone below min wage got a raise, which brought me up to 4.25/hr so I was making the same as everyone else. Do people think it would work differently? Do they believe that I would have received 5.15/hr even though the law only required 4.25/hr? Even as I advanced up the ladder and received more raises, I was closer to min wage than I would have been if min wage were still at 3.35/hr.
Meanwhile, the owner/operator did two things. He kept the same labor % goal, meaning that the now-higher-paid employees had less help and worked less hours. He also raised the menu prices. In the end, he maid a higher profit.
So, as it turns out the rich are smart enough to get what they want and everyone else becomes closer to minimum wage. Today, I make much more than I did back then but if min wage goes up, my pay will stay the same (closer to mi wage (again)).

January 31 2013 at 9:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bubby775's comment
daxcess2

How did the owner of that restaurant buy the franchise? Where di he get the money from?

June 26 2013 at 8:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sdcrosmer

Sounds like there must be a slavery shortage on the peanut plantation.

January 31 2013 at 8:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sdcrosmer

There is no labor shortage if the rich do not support an increase in the minimum wage. This only concludes that there is a slavery shortage on America's peanut plantations.

January 31 2013 at 8:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mommylam

In my life the minimum wage has been raised many times. Costs just go up with it and no one is better off. The only way to do better is to change what you do for a living.
A smart poor person gets all kinds of government aide to go to school, others join the military and learn a trade, etc. My father came to this country a poor man. He worked at anything he could find, often working over 80 hours a week. He eventually started his own business. He did well, but the main lesson he taught us was to shut up and work. We did well too.
We live in a country where you are limited only in what you believe you can do.

By the way, my father was dark and didn't speak English with a "preferred" foreign accent. So, if you don't like your life change it.

January 31 2013 at 4:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mommylam's comment
daxcess2

Thank you.

June 26 2013 at 8:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
margeaux.rox

Would Americans please lose the words, "That being said" from their speech? It's redundant, boring, and stupid. Of course, it was said! You said it, DUH!
After years of waiting tables I can tell you with some authority this is true. The wealthiest are often the cheapest tippers (they got rich by being cheap, did they not?) and the rudest. Example: Cher is not only rude as h*ll to wait-persons but also tight with her dough. Next on the hit parade are people with screaming, bratty kids. I had a table of 8 once who ran me ragged and left a few pennies.
Maybe people don't know waitpersons work for so little money. Maybe they don't know waitpersons walk through grease, stand on hard floors, lift heavy objects, get sneezed/coughed/and god-knows-what-else-on, are talked to like dogs (or worse, people love their dogs), and have managers scream at them while grabbing asses and firing the ones who don't comply.

January 31 2013 at 3:32 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
fixdrill

That being said. I do believe that the servers wage has got to be increased. It has been stagnant for 22 years. Not raise the minimum wage, just the servers wage. Where are the Democrats on this one?!!!! Oh, thats right, the union members wages arent tied to the servers wages. Sorry servers, cant garner any votes by raising their wage. Its about getting votes, not actually helping someone. What say you liberals?

January 31 2013 at 1:03 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to fixdrill's comment
ralphhale3

I say the server wage issue is just one issue, and a smaller one at that. The overarching issue is that wealthy people can't comprehend the difficulty that the majority of americans have in just getting by. Prices continue to rise, business continues to always reap greater profits, yet our average real wage level has been flat since 1972. What say you, conservative. What is the psychology behind 1) the 'I've got mine, the hell with the rest of you' mentality of many, many wealthy people? or 2) that many wealthy people believe they are entitled to benefits (see Tax codes for example), the rest of the 'unwashed' do not receive. What is the mindset of such people, when those with so much less, are more likely to give, on a percentage basis, more of their money to help others? What say you Conservative?. I say that while many( but not ALL of course) wealthy people view themselves as 'better' than the other 97% of us simply because of having some cash, they are, in actuality inferior human beings. Lower on the psycho-emotional and social development ladder than the rest of us. Selfishness, greed and the FEAR of SHARING any kind of power(see money) causes them to use wealth/power to legislate imediments to the financial development of the great majority of the population. That is what I say.

January 31 2013 at 3:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bubby775

Three points -
Server wages have not been stagnant. Most of their income comes from tips, which are a percentage of the bill. Menu prices have increased dramatically in 22 years.
Many union workers are tied to minimum wage. If min wage goes up so do their salaries. A privilege that most of us don't share.
There needs to be a motivation for working your way out of those server-jobs. A higher wage elsewhere is that motivation.

January 31 2013 at 9:46 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
fixdrill

Since nearly 91% of all "rich" people worked their way to where they are and only a small percent inherited their wealth shows that you know nothing of what people can do with themselves. How is it someone can come to our shores with no more than a few dollars in their pocket and still end up being well to do? If you are willing to come up with what people need or want, risk all that you own to make it work, and are willing to work at least 80 hours a week, then you can also "inherit" a large sum of money.

January 31 2013 at 12:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JamesD

Yeah, why don't these "poor" folks just get out there and inherent a fortune like most rich people today did? Bet the Walmart heirs (5 of the top ten riches folks in the world) don't whine about the minimum wage -- they "understand how the economy works" based on how hard they worked to get where they are today.

January 31 2013 at 12:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lennonandmarx

**"The Rich Less Likely To Support Raising The Minimum Wage"**

Maybe that's because "the rich" understand the economy better than "the poor", and they understand that raising the minimum wage results in fewer minimum wage jobs.

January 31 2013 at 11:52 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

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