St Paul Restaurant Workers Tell City 1/8/17 How They Feel About $15 Minimum Wage

Restaurant workers will weigh in Monday on how St. Paul should structure changes to the citywide minimum wage.

The Citizen’s League, a nonpartisan public interest group, is working with the city to study the pros and cons of likely changes to the minimum wage. The league will accept comments from restaurant workers from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at Sweeney’s Saloon, 96 N. Dale St., St. Paul.

Among the issues, restaurant workers remain divided over a possible “tip credit,” or exemption for tipped employees.

 Because many, but not all, servers earn more than $15 per hour when tips are included, some advocates fear that servers could actually lose substantial sums if their employer is forced to raise hourly wages to $15. They fear many employers will raise food prices to compensate for the new costs, and then post signs eliminating tipping to appease customers.

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter has said he opposes tip credits, but he’s open to discussion. In June, the Minneapolis City Council passed a phased-in $15 minimum wage mandate with no tip credit.

This is one of several listening sessions that representatives of the Citizen’s League are attending with workers and business owners. The league’s report to the St. Paul Foundation is likely in early February.